Harpley Methodist New Connexion Gospel Hall, Norfolk

A Wesleyan chapel of 1845 is recorded in the 1851 ecclesiastical census. The King’s Lynn Wesleyan Reform Society was active in the neighbourhood at the time and appears to have occupied the Wesleyan shortly after this date; their chapels eventually joined the Methodist New Connexion from 1854. Increasing attendances led to the erection of a gallery in 1859, although space was still at a premium

The foundation stone of a Gospel Hall was laid on Wednesday 6th July 1870 by Miss Jary, with the Rev Thomas Porteous (Lynn New Connexion circuit) officiating. William Norman, the miller of Harpley, gave the land and had the hall built and placed in a Trust. He was a Methodist local preacher and chief steward here for many years.

Described as “a hall to be used for the Sunday School, lectures, and a service every Sunday”, there was more than a hint of American revivalism, and little regard to denomination. That the Sunday school was successful is evident from the anniversary in 1874 when 90 children attended.

In 1907 the hall went the way of the New Connexion and became United Methodist, but not for long. Mr Norman, on moving to Lynn for retirement in 1920, gave the building (debt free) to the Wesleyans for use in connection with the Mid-Norfolk Wesleyan Mission.

At Methodist union (1932) it was placed in the Swaffham circuit where it remained until closing in 1945.

When put up for sale in 1952, the specifications were: two front entrance porches; a main hall measuring 34x25ft 6in, with a slow combustion stove; and a back portion of the hall measuring 25x12ft 6in with folding communicating doors. Contents included benches, a platform and a quantity of trestles and boards.

It is interesting to note that it was not registered for public worship until February 1938. The registration was cancelled 1952.

The building has since been demolished.

Sources include
Post Office Directory of Norfolk 1869
Lynn Advertiser 4th June and 9th July 1870
Lynn News 18th September 1928
Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940
Lynn Advertiser 11th July 1952

Comments about this page

  • This page has been revised by David Secker to include the new information provided in the previous comments.

    By Philip Thornborow (19/04/2024)
  • I am chair of the Harpley History Group, we are actively researching the Methodist chapels in Harpley, Whilst some of your later information is correct we believe that there was an earlier chapel elsewhere in the village before Gospel Hall was built in the 1870’s. As per the previous comments, the house in the picture is not Gospel Hall. We do not currently have a photograph of the building , but we do know it was demolished in the 1950’s. We are happy to share information as we get it.

    By Gary Holford (17/04/2024)
  • Thanks for pointing this out. The entry will be amended accordingly.

    By david secker (12/03/2024)
  • That is not Harpley Gospel Hall. It was a few yards to the right of this photo. These cottages have always been dwellings

    By Andrew Fake (09/03/2024)

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