Faringdon Primitive Methodist Church

Oxfordshire, formerly Berkshire

Return from Faringdon Primitive Methodist preaching barn in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship
Provided by David Tonks
Faringdon Primitive Methodist chapel
Christian Messenger 1920/174

The Primitive Methodists came to Faringdon in 1832 through the work of a Lambourn based travelling preacher, Thomas Russell. He was given a very rough time being beaten up and thrown in a brook, but his efforts paid off with the formation of a Primitive Methodist Society in 1837.

The Society had no premises on its own until 1851, when cottages were bought in Coxwell Street and a chapel built in their place.  The 1851 census records them meeting in a “barn  used for a chapel”

In 1897, increasing congregations led to the chapel being sold to the Anglicans as a Mission Hall (it has since become an electrical store and is now a house) with a new chapel erected almost opposite at the cost of £862. The 37 members took until 1919 to clear the debt incurred.

The Methodist union of 1932 saw the former Wesleyan Methodist Church closed (it is now a Masonic Hall) and the congregations unite at the former Primitve Chapel.

In 1970 Faringdon Methodist Church united with Faringdon Congregational Church to form Faringdon United Church. Being one of the first ecumenical projects involving Methodists and Congregationalists, no one was quite sure how to set up the church. The union was effected by the Methodists inviting all the Congregationalist to become members of the Methodist Church and vice versa.

Proceeds from the sale of the former Congregational Chapel to the Roman Catholics enabled the Methodist Chapel to be converted into a church hall and a new church was erected next door on the site of the Duke of York pub.

The union has been successful with membership holding up well.

Comments about this page

  • For reasons I do not understand the Primitive Methodist magazine for August 1852 contains a further account by G Wallis, this time of the re-opening of the chapel on Sunday May 23rd 1851. “Excellent sermons were preached by T Church of London to crowded congregations and effects were produced which will not soon be forgot.” The later tea meeting was addressed by G Wallis himself, T Church and Rev A Major, the Baptist minister.

    By Christopher Hill (08/02/2017)
  • The Primitive Methodist magazine for January 1852 contains an account by G Wallis of the opening of Faringdon Primitive Methodist chapel which adds detail to the account above. Previously the society had met in a “round house” (pigeon house), Mr William Taylor’s house and a rented room. The society outgrew the premises so the 1851 chapel was built for a cost of £200.

    It measured 34′ x 24.5′ and was 17′ high from floor to ceiling, with gas lighting and a boarded floor. The opening services (with the obilgatory tea meeting on the following day) started on November 16th 1851 and sermons were preached by J Mules (Reading), J Petty (London),Rev E Rawlinngs (Highworth), Rev E Hughes (Wesleyan), A Major (Baptist), R Soper (Independent).

    Donations came from E Butler, Mr Oppenheim, Miss Townsend (cushion), Miss E Hall (hymn-book) and J Belph (pulpit bible). Mr Major promised five pounds; I wonder if he paid it? 

    By Christopher Hill (28/12/2016)

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