Milton Bryan Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Bedfordshire

'The Chapel on the Pond'

Unique in Bedfordshire, the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Milton Bryan was known as ‘the Chapel on the pond’. The authors of ‘The Dunstable Methodist Circuit one hundred and fifty years of witness’ describe how this was ‘where the ducks slid under the building and quacked their way through the prayers, the lessons and the address and accompanied the hymns’. But they also paint a vivid picture of chapel life that was not just about meeting in a wooden building on a duck pond, but, ‘a place of holiness’.

A house in the occupation of William Ward was registered for worship by Thomas Flower of Dunstable on 4/5 March 1846. Flower was Second minister in the Dunstable Wesleyan Methodist Circuit.

Opposition led to the chapel being built on ‘manorial waste’ by the village pond in 1861, permission being given by Lady Inglis, Lady of the Manor at a rent of 2s 6d per year. The Returns of accommodation In Wesleyan Methodist Chapels recorded that in 1873, Milton chapel had 75 sittings.

The Chapel’s membership was not large and at the time of its 1961 centenary had reduced to four. The Chapel on the Pond was closed in and pulled down in the winter of 1980-81.

Sources and References:

Bedfordshire Chapels and Meeting Houses: Official Registration 1672-1901 Volume 75 Bedfordshire Historical Record Society – Edited by Edwin Welch

Returns of accommodation In Wesleyan Methodist Chapels 1873

The Chapel Built over the Pond by Alan Cirket, Bedfordshire Magazine Vol18 No138

The Dunstable Methodist Circuit One hundred and fifty years of witness 1843-1993 – Colin Bourne

Bedfordshire Community Archives

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