Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist Chapel

From 1828 to the Centenary in 1928

postcard c1900
Steve Wild
postcard featuring Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist chapel
From W J Harper, Mow Cop, 1907, before the School Room was built in 1914.
Gordon Pritchard
undated newspaper picture of Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist chapel
Englesea Brook Museum picture and postcard collection
1851 Census report for Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist chapel
provided by David Tonks
The wedding of George Astbury and Ethel Cookson at Englesea Brook Chapel in 1935
Englesea Brook Centenary press cutting 1928
Thomas Burgess membership ticket 1904
An unusual view of the back of the School room, soon after it was built in 1914. The people in the photo may be the caretakers who lived in the Chapel Cottage next door. This would be the side of the fence in the foreground.

According to a local newspaper cutting from 1928, ‘Primitive Methodism was flourishing at Englesea Brook as far back as 1811, when the name appears on the plan associated with ‘Wryne Hill’.’

Chapel built by voluntary labour

Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1828, entirely by volunteers, and all the materials were given by local people.

  • All the bricks were laid by Mr Thomas Whittaker and his son, George.
  • Mr Hugh Harding gave bricks and other materials.
  • Mr William Salmon made a free gift of the land to build the chapel, which was in a corner of his garden.

In 1907

In 1907 W J Harper, in Mow Cop and its Slopes, described Englesea Brook as ‘a quiet old world spot, about three or four miles from the busy town of Crewe, and very little different to what it has been for a hundred years or more. Away from the bustling noise and hurry-scurry of the town it goes on its quiet way, heedless of the progress and developments that have been made not far from its secluded position.’

‘Before Crewe was thought of, the early Methodist preacher plodded along its lonely lanes to preach in the little chapel, pushed into a corner, behind stables and yards, which still serves the little community as the only place of worship in the quiet village.’

‘The Chapel is exceptionally neat and well furnished inside…  Latterly the trustees have bought a piece of land, opposite the Cemetery and next to the Chapel, on which they hope some day to erect Memorial Schools to Hugh Bourne, who still has descendants in the locality’.

Hugh Bourne Memorial School, 1914

It took several years to raise the funds, but the School Room was finally opened in 1914. Many local people remember going to Sunday School here. George Burgess and Samuel Astbury were two of the Sunday School Superintendents. The highlight of the year was the Sunday School Anniversary, when a stage was erected at the front of the chapel.

After 100 years

At the time of its centenary in 1928, the chapel was considered to be ‘one of the most beautiful chapels within a considerable radius.’  ‘Much enthusiasm characterised the centenary services of the historic Primitive Methodist Church at Englesea Brook, near Crewe’.

The preacher on the Sunday was Mr George Jepson of Coppenhall, a local preacher with a long association with Englesea Brook. Large congregations gathered to hear him. Music was provided by Mr W Riley and party from Audley.

Birthday party

The previous Thursday, a 100th birthday party was attended by a congregation that filled the Sunday School room. Mr Herbert Alcock of Wheelock, presided, and gave a ‘reminiscent speech’. Englesea Brook was then in the Talke circuit, and the superintendent, Rev F Hull, spoke about the church’s history and some of its founders.

Music was provided by Miss Bispham and Miss Freda Robinson, of Crewe, with Mr J Heath and Mr S Jones of Audley. The vote of thanks to all the helpers was given by Rev W Killcross.

Mr Thomas Burgess

The cutting of the cake was performed by the oldest member, Mr Thomas Burgess. The cake had been made by Mrs Arthur Whittaker, and given by the ladies of the church. Mr Burgess recalled some of the interesting incidents that had happened during his time at Englesea Brook Chapel, which spanned more than 70 years.


These items are among a collection kindly donated to the museum by Roy P Rushton, on behalf of the Burgess family.


Comments about this page

  • Extracts from Hugh Bourne’s Journal relating to Englesea Brook

    Friday 17. By railway to Basford, then walked to Balterley, and then to Englesea Brook, and preached from Matt 13.43; then from John 7.37-39. I slept at Mr Salmon’s.

    Saturday 24 April 1847. I came to the house of my nephew Mr Salmon, at Englesea Brook.
    Sunday 25. I preached at Weston, John 7.37. Truly a good time, thank the Lord! Afternoon at Englesea Brook chapel, I preached to the children. Brother Benjamin Higgens from Kidsgrove preached the Anniversary and also at night. About £6.2.0.

    Wednesday 28 June 1848. [From Brown Edge] I came to Englesea Brook and found all well.
    Thursday 29 June. At Englesea Brook; night at class, a good time. [to Rhosymedre]

    Sunday 17 September 1848. [From Betley] Englesea Brook. School sermons. I attended at night and spoke. [Stayed at Englesea Brook for 5 weeks ill until 21 October 1848. Then to Bemersley.]

    By Jill Barber (25/05/2017)
  • Primitive Methodism in Englesea Brook began in the home of Sarah Smith, a farm labourer’s wife, in 1811. The chapel was built in 1828, and enlarged in 1832, when the gallery was added. According to the Religious Census, taken on 30 March 1851, there was free seating for 150 people and 60 other spaces, which would have been the rented box pews in the gallery. There was no morning service, but on that day 78 adults and 56 children attended the afternoon service, and 66 came to the evening service. The return was made by the steward, George Whittaker.

    By Jill Barber (11/07/2015)

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