09. Sandbach Circuit

It is worthy of note that the place of the closing Synod of the Tunstall District is very closely associated with the early days of Primitive Methodism.

Sandbach was first missioned by the Rev. T. Jackson in 1818, and appeared on the plan of the Tunstall Circuit in 1819. On later plans it stood as a Branch of that Circuit, and as such continued until 1840, when it became a separate Circuit.

In 1832, a small Chapel was built in Union Street, Sandbach, and a year later the Venerable Hugh Bourne visited the town and conducted services in that building.

Two other places still on the plan of this Circuit— Coppenhall and Weston—were recognised preaching places in 1811, it being on record that Thomas Alcock conducted services at both places in that year.

From 1813 to 1816 services were planned at Oakhanger Moss, but were then apparently discontinued until 1830. With the re-commencement of these, services were also established at Winterley (1830) and in 1835 at Ettiley Heath. Middlewich and Wheelock first appeared on the Circuit plan of 1837. A further item of interest is that the Sandbach Sunday School sermons were conducted by Elizabeth Allen, one of the travelling preachers from Tunstall on October 14, 1832.

From the origin of the Circuit we turn to later years, and the story still to be told is one that indicates healthy, incessant activity. During this intervening period many have laboured—Ministerial and Lay-men and women who have been divinely constrained and who have given of a great devotion.

Chapels have been built, schools have been added, and a well situated Manse in good condition has also been included in the Circuit’s ventures.

The Circuit has had the joy of giving three of its sons to the ministry: Henry Davenport, John W. Whittaker and J. Gordon Webb. The two former, in each case, gave of their best for nearly 40 years to the Circuits in which it was their privilege to serve, while the latter is at present acceptably labouring at Rotherham,

Work amongst our young people is receiving increasing attention, several of the schools having adopted modern methods of procedure, as far as accommodation will permit.

The Churches on the Circuit to-day are Sandbach, Winterley, Weston, Oakhanger, Ettiley Heath, Middlewich, Haslington, Maekin’s Bank Church, Coppenhall, Thurlwood, Wheelock and Occlestone and at each we have a people splendidly loyal and who are worthily serving their Master and Lord.

H.A. & J.A.F.

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