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The entrance to Chapel Lane in 2021.

Wesleyan chapels

A group of men, including John Wesley (1703–1791) and his younger brother Charles (1707–1788), at Oxford University in the 1720s systematically set about living a holy life. They were members of the Church of England but deemed 'Methodist' by their fellow students because of the methodical way in which they carried out their Christian faith. John Wesley transformed the attempted mockery into a 'title of honour' for the group.

Methodist preachers focused particularly on evangelising people who had been 'neglected' by the established Church of England, such as labourers and criminals. Early Methodism allowed women authority in church leadership, but this diminished after 1790. Initially, the Methodists merely sought reform within the Church of England, but the movement met considerable hostilities from the 'estabished' clergy. After John Wesley's death in 1791 what had been an evangelical revivalist strand of the Church of England became a separate denomination. By 1842 membership had increased to almost 80,000 with 500 travelling preachers and more than 1,200 chapels.

Although Methodists came from all walks of life – including the aristocracy – the movement became most associated with the middling and working classes. Indeed in 1812 a breakaway movement called the Primitive Methodists concentrated their mission on working-class mining and agricultural communities, while the Wesleyans remained focused on the more affluent and influential urban population. The two 'strands' eventually merged in 1932.

Barrowby's two Wesleyan chapels

The first Methodist chapel in Barrowby was erected in 1833. In 1835 it was doubled in length and a small gallery erected (presumably at the western end). It is shown on late nineteenth century maps as the Wesleyan Chapel. Sometime after 1932 the name changed to 'United Methodist Free Chapel'.

If you know when this chapel closed please email me:– bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk. Was it converted to a house? Was it demolished?

Confusingly a second chapel, known as the United Reformed Chapel, was built a few yards further north in 1853. Substantial repairs were needed in 1864. In the twentieth century (seemingly 1928) this building, now quite dilapidated, was sold for 35 and adapted for use as a garage and for storage. In 1979 it more-or-less survived (Cryer 1979 p30). (Note the relevant Lincolnshire Heritage Environment Record seemingly conflates the two near-adjoining chapels, as one was certainly extant post-1928.)

These buildings were probably adapted from the two chapels.

L.R. Cryer names a number of the members of the two chapels in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Cryer 1979 p29–30).

If you think I've got something wrong – or can add additional information or photographs – then please email me:– bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.

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what's new?

Articles about Barrowby

Barrowby's location and geology

summary of prehistoric Barrowby

summary of Roman Barrowby



Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Nineteenth century

nineteenth and twentieth century population

Twentieth century

guided walks in and around Barrowby

there's more could be said...


index of surnames in Cryer 1979

Articles and web links for nearby places

rare seventeenth fonts at Muston, Bottesford and Orston from Project Gargoyle Newsletter 2020

Ironstone quarries of Leicestershire
YouTube video

Wyville's wells

Harston's Anglo-Saxon carvings

Bottesford's effigies

Grantham Canal Society

The Grantham Canal
All you need to know – and more – from Wikipedia

Croxton Kerrial manor house excavations
photos and brief details from Leicester Mercury.
By 2021 the remains had been consolidated and there are annual open days.

Grantham Archaeology Group

Bottesford History Group

Grantham Civic Society

Grantham Museum

Heritage Lincolnshire