Burnt Fen Primitive Methodist chapel

By Christopher Hill

The Primitive Methodist Magazine of March 1851 contains an account by J Thurgur of the opening of Burnt Fen Primitive Methodist chapel.  It was in the Soham Circuit and the opening services were held on  December 8th 1850.

Previously since 1836 the society had "preached at Brother James Large's house". The land for the new Chapel was rented from Sir Henry Bunbury for 2/6 per year. It was a wooden building measuring 26' x 18' and was built of wood with a slate roof. At the time of opening, the debt £50 which was payable at @ 5% interest.

A new chapel was clearly needed as the 1851 Religious Census records the average attendance for morning services as 60 people with 30 scholars and on Census Sunday itself there was a congregation of 80 people and 36 children.

I am unable to locate exactly where the chapel was.  The Census return locates it as Mildenhall Fen. Burnt Heath was a hamlet with its own railway station, which became Shippea Hill Station - the station that competes for the claim to be Britain's least used: in 2013-14, just 12 passenger entries/exits were recorded. Given current agriculture practices, it is a very sparsely populated area and it is hard to imagine an active chapel with congregations that size in the area.  Can anyone locate where it was? Does any picture exist?


Reference

The Primitive Methodist Magazine of March 1851 p 176

Least used station claim - Wikipedia accessed August 23 2016

 

 

This page was added by Christopher Hill on 23/08/2016.

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