Chesham Primitive Methodist Church, Buckinghamshire

William Pole’s Mission

In 1836 William Pole was appointed to the High Wycombe Mission of the Hounslow Primitive Methodist Circuit.  He started the Chesham Mission and in November 1836 a series of applications was made to register places of worship at cottages in Chesham, and the nearby villages of the Lee, Lee Common, Buckland Common and Prestwood.

Chesham Primitive Methodist society

The Primitive Methodists in Chesham met at James Gomme’s warehouse.  The building was officially registered on 15th November 1836.  James Gomme was an auctioneer who lived at Poplar Cottage in Townfield Yard, Chesham.  From 1839 local efforts were concentrated on Lee Common when a Primitive Methodist chapel was built. 

Temperance Hall church

Another Primitive Methodist Society was started at Chesham about 1860, which met at the Temperance Hall. A Sabbath School was started in 1862.  In July 1865 Rev Thomas Russell became Superintendant Minister of the St Albans Primitive Methodist Circuit.  He concentrated on evangelism.  On Sunday, 28th February 1869 Thomas Russell wrote in his journal: “walked to Leyhill, where I was glad to find six teachers with nearly forty children.  I preached at eleven; then went to Chesham, a large market-town in Buckinghamshire, where there is no Methodist society except our own. Mr John Plato said that there should be a regular Primitive Methodist missionary here.  I was glad to find that their cottage prayer meetings were well attended.  I was thankful to find several fresh members joined.”  In 1870 Thomas Russell became minister of the new Berkhampstead Circuit which included Berkhampstead, Tring, Crouchfield (Boxmoor), and Marlowes (Hemel Hempstead), Ley Hill and Chesham.

Proposed Chesham chapel

In 1872 Thomas Russell left the Berkhampstead Circuit to become Minister at Dover.  In 1873 a Thomas Russell Memorial Chapel was planned to be built in Townsend Road, Chesham, but at the end of May it was announced that the foundation stone laying was delayed for a month and it never happened.


registrations at the Archdeaconry of Buckingham
backdates of the Bucks Herald
backdates of the Bucks Adbertiser and Aylesbury Gazette
Autobiography of Thomas Russell One of the Pioneers of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1892

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