Staunton on Wye Primitive Methodist Chapel
Staunton-on-Wye Civil Parish, Herefordshire
Location GR – SO 36148 45186
In 2013 the building appears to have been converted into a dwelling. Work in progress in 2009 may be seen in Google Street View via location map adjacent. The wall plaque is only partly legible due to weathering, with only the painted “Primitive Methodist” top lettering fully present. The original wooden notice board for “Staunton-on-Wye Evangelical Church” is still in place and may explain why the building is still marked on Google Maps as a Church.
Herefordshire Through Time web site states :- Staunton-on-Wye chapel stands on the western edge of the village at the side of the main road that leads through the village.
In 1843 the committee meeting minutes mention a preaching room at Staunton-on-Wye but no chapel, and by 1849 the membership was seventeen.
By March 1862 it was decided that there was need for a chapel, and Brother Maskell and Brother Timms were sent to see H. Cottrell Esq. to try and obtain some land on which to place a chapel. They were successful and in 1866 the land was secured. Two years later the chapel, designed to hold 140 people, was completed at a cost of £186.
The membership of this chapel over the years shows early periods of a rise in membership followed by a steep drop in numbers:
- 1853 11 members
- 1884 39 members
- 1906 31 members
- 1912 26 members
- 1916 27 members
- 1931 10 members
In 1885 it appears that the members of Staunton-on-Wye chapel had their differences, and a letter was written from the Quarterly Meeting stating that “This meeting learns with regret of the unpleasantness in the Staunton Society and time it was put an end to”. This appears to have been a temporary problem.
Later on in its life Staunton was transferred to the Bromyard Circuit due to the drop in chapel attendance. This meant, however, that the minister had further to travel and Staunton suffered neglect in pastoral care and leadership, so eventually the number of members was reduced to five or six. Inevitably, Staunton-on-Wye Chapel was closed in 1967.
The key to the chapel was left with the caretaker and as no one asked for it back the small remaining congregation continued to hold Sunday services in the chapel. In October of 1967 someone offered to buy the chapel and the Methodist Society agreed. The building became the Evangelical Free Church and improvements were made to the structure.
Numbers began to increase and the Sunday School became too popular to accommodate all those who wished to join.
By the 1980s numbers had dropped again and the Sunday School was closed due to a lack of young people in the area, but Sunday service continued to be held.
(Information taken from Fred Bluck, Methodism in the Marches)
Click on the link to History on Line to view a map dated 1891.
On the 1887 OS Herefordshire 1:2,500 map the building is marked as Methodist Chapel (Primitive)
On the 1904 OS Herefordshire 1:2,500 map the building is marked as Methodist Chapel (Primitive)
On the 1973-4 OS Herefordshire 1:2,500 map the building is marked Free Church.
The above maps may be viewed at Old Maps
Methodist Church, Statistical Returns, 1940 – Birmingham District – Leominster –Staunton-on-Wye – Structure, brick. Seating Accomodation, 92. Type of Seating, F. School Hall, -. Other Rooms, -.
These are the chapels (originally PM) listed in 1940 for the Birmingham District – 212. Leominster :- Leominster (Green Lane), Dilwyn, Stockton, Shirlheath, Ivington, Upper Hill, The Hundred, Hatfield, Weobley, Ledgemoor, Tillington, Almeley, Norton’s Wood, Stockmore, Staunton-on-Wye.