Rockland St Mary Primitive Methodist Chapel, Norfolk

By Norma Virgoe

Services were held by Primitive Methodists in Rockland in 1825 and in 1833 there were 15 members meeting there for worship, but from 1835 it was no longer included in the preaching plan.

In 1859 a society was again formed.  It met in a strange building, not easily recognisable as a place of worship, consisting of two old cottages knocked into one at the end of a barn.  The end wall in front of which the small pulpit stood was set at an angle to the side walls and the aisle was off centre. A tiny gallery was added on the side wall at the rear.  There was just room for 130 people to squeeze in and in 1883 there were congregations of about 100.  The Sunday school report of 1870 mentioned seven teachers with 47 scholars.  There was even a choir which in 1911 entertained the Quarterly meeting after the official business was completed.

The chapel was attached to the Queen’s Road Primitive Methodist circuit and in its early days had a mixed congregation of Methodists, Baptists and others.  It was rented from a Mr Blake.  The superintendent minister wrote in 1888 that the amount of rent was ‘what he can make of it - Has been worked like this for many years.’ 1  

In the circuit booklet for 1910, readers were told that ‘£60 has been promised for Rockland new chapel and when the land is secured which we hope will be soon, Rockland promises will at once be met, ’ 2  but a new chapel was never built.  Instead a Miss Norman left £100 for the Connexion to purchase the existing premises which were extensively renovated with help from the circuit after severe storm damage in the mid 1940s.

The society lost a number of members when the circuit took over the chapel at Surlingham from the Wesleyan Methodists in 1928 and they transferred to that congregation.  Mr and Mrs Green continued the society for some years, but in the summer of 1953, not long after the latter’s death, the chapel closed. 

 

End notes

1.  N.R.O., FC73/141,  Norwich P.M. Register of Trustees, 1888

2.  Norwich P.M. Quarterly, July-Sept. 1910

 

This page was added by Jill Barber on 03/05/2013.

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