Colchester Artillery Street Primitive Methodist Chapel

By Keith Guyler, 1994

The Artillery Street chapel was built in 1839 when the PM society reached a membership of 55. C.H. Spurgeon was converted in that very chapel in 1850 by a sermon, possibly by Samuel Nightingale who preached there. The chapel became the head of the Colchester circuit in 1859 and by 1873 it reported having 70 members and congregations of up to 300 people. Unfortunately, these membership numbers did not last and began to decline in the late 1870’s but by 1887 had regained its numbers to 66 members and a congregation of up to 250 people. The church was renovated in 1892 and closed in 1957. In 1994, the building was reported as being the Spurgeon Memorial Evangelical Church after the conversion story.


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  • The Primitive Methodist magazine of December 1850 (page 749-751) tells us that the chapel had re-opened after being thoroughly cleaned and painted. The report, by Oliver Jackson, tells in great detail the financial difficulties the chapel had face in the previous two years and how, with prayer, they had been overcome. Mortgagtes had to be repaid; loans were promised but not delivered; trustees refused to accept responsibility for new loans and much more.

    By Christopher Hill (19/06/2021)
  • Samuel Nightingale, who is thought to have been the preacher who converted Spurgeon, had a relative (a great nephew, I think) called Arthur Nightingale. At some point the family jumped from Primitive Methodism to Wesleyanism, and Arthur came onto full plan in 1894. He served on numerous bodies, and was Trustee to many Chapels. By trade he was a Tailor, owning a shop on North Hill, Colchester. He died in 1951, aged 79.

    By Michael Topple (25/04/2020)
  • Although the Methodist cause closed in 1957, from 1959 an Independent Evangelical group, known at first as the ‘Gospel Airs’ established Evangelical services. This group was largely formed from the Fingringhoe Methodist Church.

    By Brian Clow (25/04/2020)
  • William Yeadon was my great grandfather. His wife, Sarah (nee Scrivener) had 7 children including my great grandmother Emily. I have more details of his life story which I’d be happy to share. The link below is a photo of the chapel taken around 1860.

    By John Crampin (25/11/2018)
  • The chapel was enlarged in 1860 to hold an additional 200 people by the addition of 2 galleries. William Yeadon tells us about it in the September 1860 Primitive Methodist magazine (page 553). The work cost £140 of which they had raised £140 in part by a large bazaar.

    Speakers at the opening on July 6th 1860 were J Fleetwood of Ramsgate, TW David (Independent) and G Blankflower (Wesleyan).

    By Christopher Hill (05/02/2018)
  • We have been officially known as Artillery Street Evangelical Church for the past 10 years or so. Our web site is at:

    By Pastor Peter Millist (16/03/2016)
  • The present appearance of the chapel is due to that 1892 renovation: an image of the 1839 appearance can be seen in Kendall’s History vol. 2 p. 239, and an account reporting it – and suggesting that the renovations were not exactly an improvement – can be found on the present church’s website

    By sandy calder (26/01/2015)

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