Coventry: Opening of Primitive Methodist Chapel

From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838

When I came into this circuit, Jane, 1835, I was convinced from a variety of circumstances, connected with our cause in Coventry, that a Chapel was much needed.  But how to get money to erect one, was a question of serious importance, as the society were poor, and our influence very small.  But hearing of a piece of ground to be sold, Mr. John Villers and I made an agreement for it; and engaged to pay the money (fifty-one pounds) including the writings) in three months; which by the blessing of God, we accomplished.

We appointed six o’clock prayer meetings to be held, to implore the blessing of God upon the intended chapel, and the cause in general; and notwithstanding the cold frosty mornings (it being the middle of winter) the members attended well, the drops began to descend, sinners got awakened; and the old room on the Sabbath-day became crowded.  Several cried for mercy, and some who had been notorious for sin, got converted; and others who had been in a backsliding state, were restored, and the general cry was, “O Lord, revive thy work.”

We then got several circulars printed, giving a brief statement of the rise and progress of our Connexion, and the circumstances of our society in this city, humbly craving assistance.  These we sent to the most influential and benevolent gentlemen and ladies in Coventry and its vicinity, stating that two of the friends connected with the chapel, would call, in the course of a few days, to receive what they might feel disposed to give.  This answered well, as it gave opportunity for enquiry and consideration, and saved us much time.

We also wrote to the two members of parliament for the city, and to the two for the northern division of Warwickshire, who kindly sent us the following sums, namely: Coventry, — Hon. Edward Ellice, ten pounds; — Williams, Esq. five pounds; and — Herbert, Esq. one pound, ten shillings.  N. Warwickshire, — Sir Eardley Wilmot, five pounds; — Dugdale, Esq. five pounds.

The chapel was opened on Sunday, April 9, 1837, when Brother Flesher, from London, preached morning and evening, and the Rev. N. Rowton, (Independent), in the afternoon.  And Brother Flesher again on the Monday evening.  On the 16th, Brother Petty from Dudley, morning and evening, and the Rev. Mr. Gowthorne (Independent) afternoon.

Considering the very stormy weather, the congregations and collections were good; and great satisfaction given.  We realized nineteen pounds seven shillings.

The chapel is thirty-six feet by thirty, and twenty-two feet high to the ceiling, with a gallery at one end, and a good clock.  New palisading in front, and a neat little vestry at the back.  It contains one hundred and eighty-four sittings, besides a great number of free seats.

The whole cost will exceed five hundred pounds, towards which we have collected about one hundred pounds.  We should have obtained much more, hut in consequence of the great depression of the silk trade, on which the inhabitants of this city principally depend, we were obliged to suspend our begging operations early in the spring.  But trade is now a little better, and we have commenced again.  It is well attended, settled on the Connexion, and generally admired for its neatness and utility.

When we contrast the present state of our cause in this city, with what it was two years ago, we have much cause for thankfulness, then we had about thirty members, worshipping in an obscure room, with sky-lights, and an exceedingly bad entrance.  Now we have a commodious chapel, an increasing congregation, a prosperous Sunday school, and about eighty members.  To God be all the glory.

Bourne Heath Chapel

We have had a society in this place for some years; but its progress has been retarded for want of a more convenient place of worship.  We have at length erected a neat little chapel, twenty-six by eighteen feet outside, seventeen feet high, with a gallery in one end.  It was opened July 16,1837, when Mr. H. Bourne preached morning and night, and the Rev. Mr. Ashwell (Independent) of Bromsgrove, in the afternoon.  The congregations were large, numbers could not get in.  The collections were liberal, and services powerful.  Had the work been done and the materials purchased at the regular trade price, it would have cost about one hundred and fifty pounds, but we shall not have more than one hundred pounds debt upon it.  It is well attended, and settled on the Connexion.


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 71-72.

Comments about this page

  • A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in Grove Street in 1836. Details are recorded in the 1851 religious census: there were sittings for 260 with an attendance of 142; there was a Sunday School with 120 children attending. In 1852-3 they were holding morning and evening services on Sundays and an evening service on Fridays. Protracted and Missionary meetings were to be held in November and a Watch Night meeting on December 31st; T. Bray was the Society Steward and Preachers J. Villers, J. Stockall, D. Sidwell, W. Watson, W. Johnson and T. Dawson lived in Coventry. The chapel appears on the Coventry Board of Health map of 1851, the first edition Warwickshire Ordnance Survey map (1880s) and in local trade directories from 1860 until 1900 when it was replaced by the Ford Street chapel. It was the centre of the main Coventry Primitive Methodist circuit. The Grove Street congregation was recorded in the Religious census carried out by the Coventry Herald in December 1881: there were at least 14 Sunday school teachers and 140 scholars; at least 100 people attended a morning service and 145 an evening service. The building was damaged by a fire in 1901 and used by a printing firm thereafter, but has since been demolished. Sources: 1851 religious census for Warwickshire, HO 400.1.1.10; Victoria County History for Warwickshire Vol. 8, p. 392; Coventry Herald, 9 Dec. 1881, p. 3.

    By Anne Langley (28/02/2020)
  • This Coventry PM Chapel is probably the one in Grove Street. (By the way, Bourneheath is near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire and not in Warwickshire.)

    By Anne Langley (10/03/2018)

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