& William Merritt
Primitive Methodist preachers first visited Basingstoke in about 1840 or 1841. They met with considerable opposition. William Merritt was apprehended and confined for preaching in the open air. A few hours later, some friends connected with the Independent Church secured his release, and someone gave permission for services to be held in his yard. This was suitable in summer, but inconvenient in winter. When G. Price came to the circuit in 1845 the Primitive Methodists still had no place of worship, and the congregations were small. In time land was purchased and a house and chapel were built. Opening services were held on 25th, 28th, 29th March and 4th April 1847. It was felt that “a gracious unction attended the several discourses and addresses.”
In 1852 or 1853 the widespread and powerful Mitcheldever Circuit (that is how Micheldever was spelled in those days) was renamed the Basingstoke Circuit, and in 1870 Basingstoke was head of a circuit with preaching places in about forty villages.
In the second half of the 20th century the Primitive and Wesleyan (Church Street) chapels were both demolished, and a new church built in which an amalgamated congregation now meets.
I have not yet found a photograph of the Primitive Methodist chapel. Can anyone supply one?