Outwell United Methodist Free Church

Free Methodist School, with adjacent chapel on the right
D Secker

On seceding from the Wesleyan chapel, the Reformers opened their own on Wisbech Road in 1851 with seating for some (recorded) 350. A Sunday school building was erected alongside the chapel in 1901. Both buildings are extant.

It was a member of the United Methodist Free Churches, becoming United Methodist in 1907.

Following Methodist union it became known as ‘Bethel’ to distinguish it from the two other chapels here: ex-Wesleyan (Isle) and ex-Primitive (Church Drove).

Circuit membership: Wisbech United Methodist Free; Wisbech United Methodist; and Upwell and Manea Methodist following union.

Closure occured when the three chapels joined forces and built the modern St Andrew’s* (opening 1963) on the site of the demolished Wesleyan.

For long, the ex-UMC has been a house, its walls rendered and the fenestration altered. When a chapel, did it have a gallery perhaps? The seating capacity suggests there might have been one.

The school building (easily mistaken for the chapel) is used for commercial purposes. It has a three-bay fa├žade built in red brick with gault brick and stone dressings. The outer bays each have double round-arched windows, and the middle bay a Venetian window over the doorway. Above this, on the raised gable, is the datestone: 1901 Free Methodist School.

*St Andew’s closed in 2021

Sources include

Free Methodist Manual 1899

Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940 pub 1947

Fenland Citizen 31st May 2021

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