King's Lynn New Connexion / United Methodist Chapel, Norfolk

Former Trinity Chapel on Railway Road
D Secker
Rear view showing part of the clerestory. The newer building on the right is where the Sunday school stood.
D Secker
Foundation stone from the first chapel (the Tabernacle), now on a wall at the rear.
L Coates

The Methodist New Connexion had made its way into Lynn by 1854 and joined forces with the Wesleyan Reformers who, the previous year, had built their chapel (the Tabernacle) in Railway Road. Subsequently, the chapel, its members and circuit took the New Connexion title.

By 1868 the circuit boasted 16 chapels and 3 full time ministers, although it was said that at one time there were “23 preaching places”.

Over time, splits emerged and large numbers returned to their Wesleyan roots, leaving the Tabernacle on the verge of closure. A successful revival under the new superintendent, the Rev William Stephen (editor of the Methodist Evangelist), saw the chapel demolished, and a smaller edifice known as Trinity built on the site in 1891.

In line with national changes in 1907 it was re-named United Methodist Church. By 1921 only 4 former New Connexion chapels remained in the UM circuit, this dropping to 3 by the time of union. In 1940, not one ex-UM was to be found among the 31 chapels in the Lynn circuit.

Methodist union in 1932 brought about far reaching changes, one being the closure of Trinity chapel that year.

Trinity Chapel

Built on the site of the Tabernacle in 1891, Trinity (part extant) was designed by Abraham Goodall of Nottingham, and opened by the Rev Dr H Marshall of Ashton. Measuring 54ft long x 30ft wide, there was a gallery above the entrance, and a choir and organ platform within an arched recess at the front. The roof and clerestory – only the south side admitted light – is still supported by six iron columns. A separate Sunday school (54ftx28ft), virtually the same size as the chapel, stood immediately to the south.
Nothing remains of the original façade: for wholly practical reasons the Early English front gave way to the solid brick gable end. At the rear, on the wall of a small attached cottage, is the relocated foundation stone from the first chapel.

After closing, it became a training and social centre for unemployed people. Having had various uses since, it is now a vehicle workshop. Commercial premises occupy the site where the Sunday school stood.

Sources include
Lynn Advertiser 20th May 1854
Norfolk Chronicle 18th April 1891
Lynn Advertiser 7th November 1891
History of the Borough of King’s Lynn pub 1907 Hillen H
Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940
Lynn Advertiser 4th September 1984

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