Far from the cluster of properties near the church are those next to, and on the bank of, the Old South Eau drain. Here is the border with Cambridgeshire. The bleak landscape of nineteenth-century fenland was fertile ground for the Primitive Methodists, a local correspondent describing them as “this humble band of people who appear to delight in planting themselves in remote and neglected corners of the country”.
An early Nonconformist presence is evident from certificates issued for worship. One, granted in 1807 to “Protestant Dissenters (Endorsed Methodists)”, was for a chapel (house) in Aldgate Drove although no Methodist persuasion given. The PMs opened a chapel on Broadgate in 1841. According to the 1851 census this was a separate (detached) building with 68 sittings, the minister being Womack Chapman of New Walsoken, Wisbech.
Nothing forthcoming after the 1870s in either Kelly’s or White’s, or seemingly anywhere. A new PM chapel is listed as having been built on the South Eau Bank (sold 1948). This probably mistaken for the Baptists whose chapel on the Bank is the only one shown on O/S maps. The 1870 Free Methodist in the village centre (extant as a dwelling) closed in 1970.
Census of Religious Worship 1851
Certificates for Nonconformist Chapels in Sutton St Edmund (Lincolnshire Archives)
List of Chapels in the Holbeach Circuit Past & Present (C. Shepherdson 1998)