Hartlepool Croft Primitive Methodist chapel

Return from Croft, Hartlepool Primitive Methodist chapel in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship
Provided by David Tonks

David Tonks has provided additional information:

The Return to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship was signed by John Wilson, a 51 year old Primitive Methodist Minister, who lived in William Street, Hartlepool, with his wife Elizabeth and their two daughters and two sons.

Whellan’s History, topography and directory of Durham, 1856 (p. 502) contains an interesting description of the development of Primitive Methodism in Hartlepool from its introduction in 1822, (a Camp Meeting was held in the town on 30 June according to Fawcett) followed by a chapel converted from a large granary in 1825.

Patterson writes in his Northern Primitive Methodism(1909) pp. 46-47:

“In this rude sanctuary the work of God prospered.  The Granary was crowded with attentive hearers, and marvels of grace were witnessed.”

Then followed the 1830 chapel described in the 1851 return.  About this chapel Patterson writes:

“In a few years a determination was made to build a chapel, and the erection of a place of worship in the Croft, in 1830, was an event of first-class importance in the town.  The fishermen brought the stones from Blackball Rocks in their cobles, and the women and girls assisted in carrying them up from the beach to the building site.  The chapel had only been completed three years when side galleries had to be put into it, for the population of the town was growing, and the congregations were so large that the people had to attend early to get a seat.  This congested condition of things lasted until the present Brougham Street Church was built in 1851.  Though only occupied twenty years, the work done in the Croft Chapel was extraordinary.  The congregations were largely composed of seafaring and fisher folk, and it is related by ex-Principal Johnson that “Captain John Bulmer, a member of the church, told the story that on one occasion, during divine service, a rough seaman unceremoniously opened the chapel door, and with a loud voice called out: Above or below, is the mate of the Grange here?  A vessel named the Grange, having received her cargo, was ready for sea, and as a likely place to find the mate, the sailor went to the Croft Chapel.”

This in turn was superseded in 1851 by a new chapel, with a school room and minister’s house attached, opposite the Roman Catholic church.  A similar description can be found on page 95 of the updated History of Hartlepool by Cuthbert Sharp (Hartlepool: John Procter, 1851.)

There are photographs of the 1830 and 1851 chapels in an article in the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1902.

There is a report of the opening in the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1852 pp. 244-246.



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