Photo:The Chapel in 1993

The Chapel in 1993

Photo:Two of the incorporated memorial stones

Two of the incorporated memorial stones

Primitive Methodism around Tamworth 3

By Michael Green

Perhaps of all the Tamworth Primitive Methodist chapels, the history of the third one built at Amington, another mining village some two miles east of the centre of Tamworth, is the most interesting. In September 1872, it was decided that Amington should come on plan and an unoccupied cottage in the village let at a weekly rent of 1/- became the preaching room. As was usual the next priority was the formation of the Sunday school. For reasons which are unclear, this proved difficult and it seems that it took some 5 years or so to establish one which was done by William Davis and it was the Davis family which served as the backbone of the chapel for many years. By 1878, the need for new premises was obvious so the society moved to terraced house in Needwood Villas owned by Frank Davis.

In 1885, a dramatic event occurred. The Amington society obviously had a spat with the Circuit and left the Primitive Methodist Connexion and became a Free Gospel Mission. Amington was duly removed from the plan and the names of officials expunged and that remained the position until 1892 when reconciliation took place. To cement the reconciliation, the search commenced for a suitable site on which to build a chapel. In 1894, a plot in the village consisting of some 456 square yards was bought for £35.

The memorial stones were laid on 26th June 1895. As well as the dignitaries also present were members who had paid 9d for the privilege of watching. Building went on apace carried out by Mr Williams, vendor of the site, to designs prepared by the Connexional architect, Rev W Wray. By October the construction was complete and the chapel opened on 27th October 1895. The opening was followed the next day by a celebratory tea attended by some 150 adults and children. This is turn was followed by the usual public meeting. The cost of the building was £520. A grant of £100 was given by the Connexion and the remainder was borrowed leaving the society to shoulder the inevitable burden of chapel debt.

Amington chapel had a rich musical tradition and a close association with the Amington Brass Band formed in 1917 in which many of the members played and of which Roland Davis, a chapel member, was the conductor until his death. He was an accomplished organist and composer. The close association with the Band no doubt explains why ancillary rooms were never built although there was adequate space between the rear of the chapel and the canal as the band Room was used for social occasions. All credit, therefore, to the Sunday School Superintendent, Bill Archer, and his staff who only had the use of the worship area and the two vestries (which in 1953 were, in fact, made into one to provide a serviceable room).

During the closing decades of the 20th century the society was in serious decline and in the small booklet produced to mark the centenary celebrations it was observed “With a membership of ten and activity limited to no more than one service a week, the Church is weaker than it has ever been during the one hundred years of its existence”. Six years later the sorrowful decision was taken to close and the final service took place on 1st July 2001. The site was sold for in excess of £200,000 and developed. In a nice touch, the builder incorporated the original memorial stones.

This page was added by Jill Barber on 05/03/2014.

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