Barroway Drove United Methodist Church, Norfolk

Barroway Drove, Downham Market PE38 0AH

Barroway Drove former United Methodist chapel
Photo: D Secker

Barroway Drove is in the parish of Stow Bardolph. The chapel has, at various times, also been known as Bardolph Fen Free Methodist, and Bardolph Trinity.

Here was once an old Wesleyan chapel that disappeared as a result of the Reform movement.

The present building has three dates on the porch and a datestone on the front gable. Those on the porch are: 1833 – the build date of the original Wesleyan from which, in the 1850s, the Reformers seceded; 1860 – United Methodist Free chapel established; and 1907 (as also on the datestone) when this building was erected and named UMC in line with national changes. The stone includes the title United Methodist Church. This must have been one of the few in the country to have been built during the same year that the UMC was founded. For the congregation, these name changes would have meant little in practical terms.

The new-build of 1907 followed the demolition of the previous chapel. At the opening, Mrs Cheshire and Mrs Bennett performed the unlocking ceremony, and the dedication was carried out by Rev R Wilton, Chairman of the District. Seating was for 160 persons. Sunday school accommodation was within the main building.

Following Methodist union in 1932, the two chapels here (the other being the Primitive on Cuckoo Road) dropped their sectional titles, and to avoid confusion the UMC became known as Trinity and the Primitive as Bethel. In the Returns of 1940 the chapel is noted as “Bardolph Trinity”. Following the closure of the Primitive, the UMC was generally referred to as Barroway Drove Methodist Church.

Circuits: Dowham United Methodist Free (the 1860 chapel); Lynn and Downham United Methodist from 1907–32; and thereafter Downham Methodist.

It has been converted into a residential dwelling since closure circa 2004.

Sources include
Free Methodist Manual 1899
Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940

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