Winterbourne Whitechurch Primitive Methodist chapel

Winterborne Whitchurch: return from the Primitive Methodist chapel to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious worship. Return no: 270 1 9 33
provided by David Tonks 2021

The return from the Primitive Methodist society in Winterbourne Whitchurch (sic) to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious worship showed that they were meeting in a chapel built around 1825. The return was completed by the steward, William Morris of Whitchurch

20 people attended the afternoon service and 70 people attended the evening service, the chapel’s capacity.

The 1900 Ordnance Survey map shows no Primitive Methodist chapel that I can see, although there is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel  on Blandford Hill

Comments about this page

  • A bit more information on William Morris. Someone of the same name signed the 1851 return for Winterborne Stickland and there also signed himself as ‘steward’.

    I had forgotten, though it adds nothing to the debate about the chapel, that this is the village where John Wesley senior, grandfather of John and Charles, was vicar in the 17th century. The following note is taken from the current website of the Winterborne Valley and Milton Abbas Benefice of the C of E: John Wesley, grandfather of John and Charles Wesley (the founders of Methodism), was appointed Vicar of Winterborne Whitechurch by Oliver Cromwell’s Commission of Triers in 1658. John Wesley was imprisoned for not using the Book of Common Prayer and ejected in 1662, delivering his farewell sermon to a weeping audience on August 17th of that year.

    There is a lot more on the page about the Wesleyan chapel in Whitechurch. See it here.

    By Mark Churchill (01/03/2022)
  • Another clue to what might have happened is that William Morris states that the building was erected “about” 1825. In other words there was some doubt: quite correctly as both Petty and Kendall tell us that the area was missioned from Motcombe in 1834. If any circuit plans from the Motcombe Circuit come to light they might list this place of worship. The Circuit baptismal register from 1843 has been deposited with Dorset Record Office and this would reveal whether any Primitive Methodists from Winterbourne Whitchurch were baptised. The chapel appears not to have been registered in 1867.

    William Morris himself was baptised on the 7th May 1797 in Lychett Minster, and he was buried on 12 March 1888 in the parish churchyard in Winterbourne Whitechurch. He was a carpenter, then wheelwright and appears on the census living at various locations in the village: “a cottage”, “North side road”, and “Queen’s Square”. This, then, is the only evidence of both the chapel and of William Morris as a Primitive Methodist.

    By Philip Thornborow (23/09/2021)
  • Transcription errors are very common Mark – especially when you remember poor handwriting and limited literacy. The other consideration is that often the word “chapel” was used loosely. It is not uncommon for what is recorded as a chapel to be another building used as a preaching place – a cottage, a barn, a shed – and as such would not leave a specialised building as evidence.

    I’ve looked at maps from the 1880s and cannot see a Primitive Methodist chapel.

    By Christopher Hill (22/09/2021)
  • I have been in touch with a former resident of Whitechurch whose family were stalwarts of the Wesleyan chapel there from its earliest days. He has never heard of a Primitive chapel in the village and sent me this comment: I see that the census was typed. Would this be a copy as may be the writing on the original was not easy to read ? The Morris family if it is the same one lived in the house adjacent to the Wesleyan Chapel on Blandford Hill.

    By Mark Churchill (22/09/2021)

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