King's Lynn Wesleyan Methodist Reform Chapels, Norfolk

Former Ebenezer on London Road
D Secker
Preserved foundation stone of the Tabernacle laid in 1853
L Coates
Highgate Chapel
D Secker

The Lynn Wesleyan Reform Association separated from the Wesleyan body in 1849 and built their own chapel, the Ebenezer, on London Road – noticeably much smaller than that of the Tower Street Wesleyans. Fellow Reformers met for a time in a newly erected chapel (1850) in Lynn’s Highgate (Gaywood parish).

This nascent movement rapidly established a circuit of several chapels in the Lynn area, and just four years later vacated the Ebenezer after building their impressive edifice on Railway Road known as the Tabernacle – on the preserved foundation stone (pictured) are the names of John Keed and Charles Bootman, two of the chief pioneers of the town’s Reform movement and its circuit.

The following year they amalgamated with the Methodist New Connexion, the Lynn branch of which having set up in 1854. At this juncture, the Reformers, their chapels and their circuit took the New Connexion title.

Highgate Chapel (pictured)

Built 1850 at the expense of George Cozens (Temperance Hotel) for the Wesleyan Reformers. It was opened in the November by John Keed. The Primitive Methodists later  acquired the chapel and rebuilt it. Remains open.

Ebenezer, London Road (pictured)

Opened December 1850 by the Rev J Wigner (Baptist). Seated 150. Vacated 1853 and put up for sale – the pulpit, pews and gas fittings included. Also, a house on the same plot. Purchased by (or for) the Wesleyan Methodist Association (Free Methodists) 1854. Later occupied by the Wesleyans as a mission before opening the London Road (South) chapel in 1885. Thereafter, hired by Lynn Liberals as a Working Men’s Club. Leased to All Saints’ Church 1891 for use as a hall. By 1982, after standing derelict, it became an art gallery and in 1984 was converted into a three bedroom residence.

The Tabernacle, Railway Road (no known image)

Built 1853 in Romanesque style, with a frontage of around 60 feet – the width of the present London Road Methodist. The interior had an amphitheatre layout (thus no galleries); a seating capacity of between 800 and 1000; and Sunday school classrooms in a spacious basement. Maintenance costs rendered it unmanageable. Demolished 1891 and replaced with the Trinity chapel – see entry for King’s Lynn New Connexion / United Methodist Chapel.

Sources include
Lynn Advertiser 20th May 1854
Wesleyan Returns of Accommodation 1873
Norfolk Chronicle 18th April 1891
Lynn Advertiser 7th November 1891
History of the Borough of King’s Lynn pub 1907 Hillen H
Lynn Advertiser 4th September 1984

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