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Thanks for pointing this out Jeff. I ought to have known: it did seem a bit unlikely to me at the time! The page has been transferred to the My Wesleyans website here.
Thanks for the clarification and update David.
Thanks for the additional information Jeff and the list of other local Prim chapels. It would be good to add a separate page for each one, together with a picture where possible.
Jo Lewis makes a strong case that this is the same chapel as St Austell Downs Primitive Methodist chapel. whose opening is described in the Primitive Methodist magazine of June 1859. You can read about it here.
I have been spending a little time trying to work out where the ‘wrestling downs’ PMC was that is described on the website and actually i think it might be this one the PMC on Clifden road. I can’t find any other PMC in the right area and the timings all work too
My explanation is as follows.
Clifden Road used to be called Union Road and this Chapel is clearly marked as a Primitive methodist chapel on old maps from 1881 – 1947. There is a small building at the back -it is not clear what this is. It may not be unreasonable to suggest this or the smaller building is the Primitive Methodist Chapel built on Wrestling Downs (possibly also known as St Austell Downs Chapel). St Austell Downs was “a large and populous neighbourhood about three quarters of a mile east of St Austell”. They were known as the “Wrestling Downs” where the annual wrestling matches took place at the parish wakes – and evangelistic camp meetings held by the Primitive Methodists. St Austell Downs Primitive Methodist society and chapel dates back to the 1820s, but in 1859 they opened a new, larger chapel. The foundation stone was laid in August 1858. http://www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk/content/chapels/cornwall...
It has been hard to locate the St Austell Downs chapel. Wrestling Downs absolutely existed as a registered location in Cornwall (also known as Wrestling) The St Austell genealogy site lists this as Wrestling (Wrestling Downs) 52/01 before 1828; 53/03 after (between Polkyth & Mt. Charles) bounded by Union Road (ref OS map 107) sites.rootsweb.com/~staustell/Word_Doc/Dir/Pl-s_z.htm
Cornwall archived show account books and seat rent ledgers from 1842-1946 which also fits with the known closure of this chapel
Union Road Chapel closed in the 1940s (and presumably the congregation moved to the other two nearby methodist churches. In the 1970s the congregations of Bridge Street (see other) and Victoria Street (see other) churches amalgamated to become Mount Charles Methodist Church (See other)
Reference to “At Satan’s Throne-The story of Methodism in Bath” Ed Bruce Crofts, White Tree Books 1990 gives details. This shows the Prims meeting at a number of different hired venues, including the Thomas Street Chapel until 1845, when a house in the centre of the city, no 4 Westgate Buildings was purchased for £400. This was converted for church use and continued for a number of years but the condition of the property was not good. Eventually the site adjoining was purchased for £630 and a new building, designed by J T Irvine was built, the foundation stone being laid by Cllr J W Templar on 30th April 1866. The Chapel opened in November of that year. The church was declared free of debt in 1950 but membership had declined and continued to do so. A District Commission said in 1960 that £30,000 needed to be spent to bring the building up to standard. The last service was held on 30th August 1964. The property was subsequently sold, the church demolished and the site redeveloped for retail use.
The church was sited in Frome Road Radstock in 1851 after a number of locations had been used in the town.Subsequently the church was too small and a new one was built on an adjoining piece of land, the original church then being used as a church hall. The new church was opened in 1902, the same year as the new Wesleyan Church in Fortescue Road. The Architect was W J Willcox MRIBA of Bath and the cost about £2800. The church closed and was demolished in the 1970s and the site developed for housing. I too was puzzled about the OS Sheet showing a Prim Methodist Church in Coombe End around the site of the original Wesleyan Chapel (subsequently sold and used for a variety of purposes, including The Palace Cinema, and now a carpet shop.) The Free Church mentioned was in Wells Hill, known as Ebeneezer and also since demolished for housing. Of interest perhaps; in this coal mining community there were at least 8 Prim Chapels Midsomer Norton Stones Cross (now Salvation Army) Welton (now converted to housing) Midsomer Norton Redfield Road (demolished 1996 now housing) Westfield – still open Frome Hill Radstock now demolished for housing Clandown Springfield converted to flats Writhlington now converted to a house (relocated from a Tin Tabernacle at Green Parlour) Paulton Newtown converted to house
I was told by a local Methodist historian that the Liverpool Street Chapel was bombed during the war. The chapel site looks now is a patch of grass. The church hall with an entrance on to Dover Street survived is the building now used as a synagogue. The Jewish worshipers access their site by way of Liverpool Street by a path over the site of the bombed chapel. The Dover Street entrance is now bricked up.
The Oldfield Park Primitive Methodist Chapel was sited in Shaftsbury Road opposite the Scala Cinema and was destroyed by enemy action in WW2.
This was a Wesleyan Methodist Church not Primitive as stated. The architect was probably T Silcock of Bath
Reference to “The Church on the Corner , the story of Oldfield Park Methodist Church Bath” by Roy and Margaret Wilcox (1991)
Joseph Wait is my 4x great uncle too. I will make the effort to visit the chapel soon as my family still live in Staffordshire.
Hello from across the pond!
Thank you for publishing this page and memorial. It was my pleasure to read it. I’m a descendant of Henry’s brother, John Adams (1816-1899). John and Mary Muscroft Adams’ son, James (1843-1918), and his wife Martha Ann Field, are our immigrant ancestors.
I fully appreciate the on the Assurance company. The story we received on this side of the pond , via James, was that Henry and John were co-founders. This didn’t make very much sense to me, given that before John moved in with his daughter, Jane Adams Marsden, he was listed as a “border” before his death (he would have had enough to live on his own, as he and Mary ‘supposedly’ had a rooming house-doubtful). In another census he was only listed as a clerk of the Refuge Assurance company. Thank you for the clarity.
Essex was not an area of early success for the Methodists, and Great Bardfield became notorious in 1793-1794 for its spirit of persecution against Methodist missionaries. A mob disrupted the meeting of the Methodist society on Wednesday 10th July 1793, and assaulted the preacher on his way home. A mob also trapped the preachers, the Steward John Blake and his family inside the house and preaching place for 10 hours after the service on Sunday 14th July 1793. When the ring leaders were convicted of assault at Chelmsford assizes, the village boycotted John Blake, who was their baker, and excluded his daughter from school. Not surprisingly, the family left the village.
The Primitive Methodists set up a Chelmsford Mission in 1854, and the Rev. John Guy preached in Great Bardfield in 1859, converting several, who met in a cottage near the village fountain until the chapel was built in 1862. John Guy reported in The Primitive Methodist Magazine “ But I write to tell you we have just laid the foundation stone of our new chapel at Bardfield under favourable circumstances. On Tuesday, July 29th, Mr. Dinnick preached the foundation sermon at 3 o’clock. A great number assembled who contributed freely. After the stone was laid we had a public tea in the Boy’s British School …After tea we held a good public meeting and we were cheered on the occasion, and since by additional donations. Our receipts are nearly £25, which we consider to be encouraging, in a part of the county where methodism, till lately, was not known.”
The chapel was built with 80 free and 120 lettable sittings, and cost £380. In the 1890s the membership was 42, with about 30 Sunday School scholars, so it was decided to build a Sunday School in 1903 (the garage in the photographs). The cost was £145, and the fund was started by a gift of £20 from Rev. E Cook Pritchard (a former President of the Australian PM Conference, who had retired to the village). In her book, Gill Morrell notes that the chapel closed in 1956, but as “it was the only non-conformist chapel in the neighbourhood” a determined effort was made to save the cause. The chapel re-opened in 1960 with a membership of 13, but as with many other chapels the costs of maintenance were such that it closed for the final time on 23rd February 1975. Conversion to a house followed in 1979-1980.
Morrell, Gill Religion in Great Bardfield Great Bardfield Historical Society, 2007
Primitive Methodist Magazine Vol. 44 (4th series, Vol.1) 1863 p 108
I’ve added to the page detail of the opening of the chapel from the Primitive Methodist magazine.
The opening of the chapel in 1870 is noted by M Moseley in the Primitive Methodist magazine of 1871 page 315. He tells us that a mission was formed in 1869 with 45 members. N Caine Esq built a chapel at a cost of £800 and presented it to the Connexion.
The opening of the chapel is noted by James Hawkins in the Primitive Methodist magazine 1871 (page 178). Opening preachers included Rev R Sampson (Baptist). Mr Hawkins notes that the society worshipped in a house for 40 years then Lord Mount Edgecombe rented them land at 2s/6d per year. Although the chapel measured 30′(l) x 20′(w) x 13′(h), they needed to put in more pews as all are let. A Sunday school had been started
Thanks for the information Martin. Primitive Methodist magazine accounts give lots of fascinating detail, but rarely tell us where a new chapel was actually located.
Arthur James (age 31) and his wife Mary B. James (age 26) are listed as Evangelists (P.M.) on the Census Return for Bedlington, Northumberland in 1901. They were lodgers in the household of Mrs Mary A Hewitt in Glebe Terrace. It would appear, however, that they left Primitive Methodism as in 1911 he is listed as a Congregational Minister in Spittal, Berwick upon Tweed.
Twyford Primitive Methodist chapel was at Bere Knap, a hamlet about half a mile east of Twyford and about one and a half miles west of the village of Compton Abbas. The Grid Reference is ST 860189 The 1875 Post Office Directory for Compton Abbas makes a reference to Bere Knap, ” a hamlet of a few houses and a small place of worship for Primitive Methodists” This would have been in the Motcombe circuit. The 1861 Census for Compton Abbas lists a John Merrifield living at Bere Knap, so the chapel would have been built in his garden there, Chapels are normally marked on O S maps 1:2,500 but nothing is indicated on O S maps of the area for 1888, 1902 and later, so it appears the chapel had closed. On the 1980 OS map one dwelling is marked at Bere Knap on Drones Lane. The postcode is SP70JQ Further research is needed to confirm when the chapel closed and if any evidence remains of its existence.
Hi. John was my grandpa. We are going to visit Castletown on the Isle of Man and wanted to check which chapel he was minister at
I have now visited Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum https://engleseabrook.org.uk/ where I was able to read the articles in the Primitive Methodist Magazines and Minutes. These were wonderful to read and gave me more information about John Graham. It is definitely a place worth visiting if you have a Primitive Methodist in your family.
I have also now found out that his daughter Florence Emily was the first female Mayor of Faversham in 1956
I’ve added the return from the 1851 census of Places of Public Religious Worship. It includes a by H Duke, the Registrar, that “The enumerator does not consider this as a Place of Public Worship, it being a private dwelling only where meetings are occasionally held for Prayer – He did not therefore notice it in any way but this paper was sent him”
The return from Hurstborne Priors Primitive Methodist preaching house in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship was completed by the superintendent minister, Edmund Hancock. It recorded that the meetings were taking place in the kitchen of a house occupied by a member of the society. It must have been quite a kitchen because it held 110 people on the afternoon of March 30th 1851. I’ve added the return to this page.
I’ve added to this page the return submitted by George Boman, local preacher, to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship for what is called Chutter Alley in Lower Wotten. In March 1851, the chapel was a former dwelling house which accommodated 80. The afternoon service recorded 92 in the congregation and the evening service recorded 137. Very friendly!
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