Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum

Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum

Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum is a heritage community that welcomes all to share in the unique transformative story of Primitive Methodism, providing opportunity for learning, research, worship and engaging with our collection.

At Englesea Brook, we aim to:

  • Be inclusive and accessible to diverse audiences through creative approaches
  • Introduce people to the story of Primitive Methodism and recognise its contemporary relevance
  • Maintain our collection to museum sector standards, in order to make it available to current and future audiences
  • Resource the Methodist Church in mission, by highlighting Primitive Methodism’s contribution to the Methodist story
  • Demonstrate the influence of Primitive Methodism in challenging injustice and supporting social change.
  • Work in partnership with others.

We welcome many different groups to the museum that range from schools, uniformed groups, home-education networks, WI’s, history societies, universities, churches, to name but a few. To these we can offer workshops on particular topics, artefacts, and themes.

More generally, we hold a monthly Heritage Talk via Zoom on varying aspects of the social and faith impacts of Primitive Methodism in its historical context and its transformative effects over time and in the present.

Our mission is not simply to present the history of Primitive Methodism and its mark on the Methodist Church and society, but to use our unique setting as a heritage site to offer opportunities for community engagement to explore creatively shared interests and novel or challenging subjects. To this end, we have established a monthly craft group, ‘Crafty Ranters’, which is open to anyone and is a safe space to chat about life in all its messy glory whilst learning new crafts and enjoying delicious cake. We also hold regular themed family activity days that reflect our Prim heritage and open up the museum to those who would not ordinarily access it, providing trails, craft, sensory stories and of course, cake!

That the setting is often cited as a place of peace and calm makes Englesea Brook a safe, accessible space for those with neurodivergent conditions such as autism, and as a place to address issues that are difficult for many, particularly in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic: that of death and dying, which we facilitate in our Bourne Cafes, based on the Death Café model.

Our story is not only presented on site, but taken out to schools and groups, and accessible through our YouTube channel – given as talks and stories told imaginatively through Prim characters. The use of Zoom and YouTube has made accessible to people around the globe the story of Primitive Methodism.

The Collections Store is a fairly new addition to the site and is a climate-controlled facility to store and display our extensive collection of over 6,000 objects. The store is open to the public periodically and to groups and individuals for guided tours. We also have an extensive library of Prim publications and other associated books and pamphlets to aid research.

During 2022 we have been celebrating 250 years since the birth of Hugh Bourne, who is buried at Englesea Brook. Part of the commemorations saw the formation of a travelling exhibition that was launched at Rylands Library, Manchester, on Hugh Bourne’s birthday of April 3rd, and has toured churches throughout the country and been displayed at Methodist Women in Britain’s annual conference and at the Methodist Conference. Hugh Bourne’s grave has been beautifully restored and was rededicated in October by the President, Rev’d Graham Thompson, at a special service in the graveyard.

Services are held monthly in the chapel, known as Heritage Services. These have a Prim flavour, filled with song, prayer and an open floor for discussion and testimony. They are interspersed with Love feasts, which are held either in the chapel or in the cottage parlour. Love feasts are a traditional and informal Methodist time of sharing of the common cup and cake, song, prayer and reflection.

Cake and conversation is an important aspect to our ethos at Englesea Brook. The tea room is a place of warm welcome, good conversation and delicious home-made cake which attracts regulars, and is a happy addition to a visit to the museum for many, especially younger visitors who have busied themselves with the weekly craft activity, for walkers (including dog-walkers as dogs are very welcome), those who have travelled long distances to see the collections, and for those who have become friends.

Please visit our website: www.engleseabrook.org.uk to discover more about our events, learning programmes, exhibitions and how to book a tour or off-site presentation.

Comments about this page

  • This page was modified in November 2022 to provide a revised description of the Museum and it’s activities.

    By Geoff Dickinson (03/11/2022)

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