From 1852, the Registrar General was supposed to produce a list of all buildings registered for public worship (which excluded the established church). The 1867 list appears to be the only one published. The Methodist New Connexion had 261 places of worship listed, the Bible Christians 417, the United Methodist Free Churches 817, whilst there appeared to be 59 places of worship occupied by “other” Methodist groups. By comparison the Wesleyan Methodists had 5,424 registered places of worship and the Primitive Methodists 2,879.
In interpreting the list it is necessary to remember that registration was not compulsory. As registration was valid until cancelled, however, there may be duplication: i.e. both the old and new chapels in a place may be listed. We have also discovered that the official location, as recorded by the General Register Office, may not be the same as the name by which the chapel is commonly described in Methodist sources, or indeed by those who habitually worshipped there. There is evidence of under-reporting: the 1865 Assembly of the UMFC, for example, recorded 1144 places of worship, which suggests under-representation of about 30%.
Bearing all that in mind the three maps illustrate the strengths of the three denominations across England and Wales in June 1867. Note the three distinct patterns. The measure used is the number of the total population of a county served by each chapel which indicates the relative strengths.
Separate pages list and map the registered places of worship of the Bible Christians, Methodist New Connexion and United Methodist Free Churches in 1867 by county.