The 1851 Ecclesiastical Census includes a return for Eversholt Wesleyan Methodist made by Jabez Smith, Local Preacher, 1 Priory Terrace, Bedford. This states that the chapel, in existence since 1849 had 120 free sittings, and 80 other sittings. Attendances on Census day were:
Average attendances for the preceding 12 months were:
Located in Wits End, Eversholt, the WM chapel was registered for worship on 11 February 1854 by William Henry Clarkson, 4 Harpur Street, Bedford, Superintendent Minister. Initially Eversholt WM was part of the Bedford WM Circuit. When in 1875 this was split into 3 Circuits, Eversholt became a founder member of the new Ampthill Circuit.
There was an active Sunday School. For example, in 1861, the Bedfordshire Times and Independent reported that the Wesleyan Sunday School festival had been held. There were ‘juvenile sports’ and ‘The children were regaled with a plentiful supply of plum cake and tea, which had been provided in a field kindly lent for the occasion’. After this a public meeting was held in the chapel.
The Ampthill Circuit merged to form Bedford South and Ampthill in 1971. However, the Eversholt Chapel closed the following year and was sold in 1975.
Sources and References:
Bedfordshire Chapels and Meeting Houses: Official Registration 1672-1901 Volume 75 Bedfordshire Historical Record Society – Edited by Edwin Welch
The Ecclesiastical Census, Bedfordshire, March 1851 Volume 54 Bedfordshire Historical Record Society – Edited by DW Bushby
Bedfordshire Times and Independent – 25 June 1861
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service – Catalogue Bedfordshire Methodism