Loughborough, Woodgate Wesleyan Reform/Methodist New Connexion Chapel, Leicestershire

In March 1851 the “expelled Wesleyans” acquired some land opposite Paget & White’s Warehouse. In May foundation stone for a Wesleyan Reform chapel was laid. The building was to be 36 feet by 50 feet and high enough to insert a gallery when required. The architect was G W Stephenson and the estimated cost of the land and building £1000. The chapel was opened in September. By 1877 The Wesleyan Reformers, now part of the United Methodist Free Church had moved to the former Baptist Chapel in Sparrow Hill (qv). In the same year the Methodist New Connexion was using a chapel in Woodgate. By 1901 their property consisted of a chapel and a schoolroom. The land, buildings, and enlargements had cost £1000 and the organ a further £150. There was seating for 425 in the chapel and for 150 in the schoolroom. The chapel had been closed by 1924, probably through merger with Sparrow Hill after the creation of the United Methodist Church. We cannot be sure that the Wesleyan Reform chapel and the New Connexion chapel were the same building but the circumstantial evidence is compelling. In recent years the Woodgate area has been fully redeveloped and the site of the chapel is probably now a car park.

Sources

Leicestershire Mercury, 22/3, 31/5, 6/9 1851

W White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Leicestershire and Rutland, 1877, p 503

Leicestershire Record Office 16D60/31 Methodist New Connexion /Return of Trust Estates/as presented in / Special Schedules, January 1901

Leicestershire Record Office N/M/207 United Methodist Special Trust Schedules, 1924

Site visit 17.4.2019

Comments about this page

  • The Wesley Reform chapel and the the Methodist New Connexion one were, indeed, the very same building.

    The Wesley Reformers were expelled from Wesleyan Methodism in 1850. In Loughborough about 100 members including stewards, class leaders and local preachers were forced out. For a year they met in borrowed premises, before building Wood Gate in 1851. They expressed their view that it was they who were faithful to their founder by calling it “Wesley Chapel”. Unlike most of the other Wesley Reformers who helped found the United Methodist Free Churches in 1857, they chose to join with the Methodist New Connexion (the first group to split from the Wesleyans). In 1907 the MNC and the UMFC merged to form the United Methodist Church, and this congregation joined the UMFC members in Sparrow Hill chapel. Wood Gate was sold in 1910 and having been used by John Corah Printers the building was apparently demolished in 1988.

    Source: Richardson, S.Y. Bright Hope: Methodism in Loughborough 4. Heritage, Vol. 8 no. 2, 2007, pp19-31

    By Philip Thornborow (20/01/2021)

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