Beginnings of Methodism in Crewe
Methodist preaching in the area was established in 1835 in a farm house at Wistaston but only began in Crewe itself in 1842 when services began to be held in a saw pit near Mill Street. Crewe was included on the Nantwich plan at this time and services were held at the home of a Mr Dutton. Classes were formed, meeting in leaders’ homes.
A ‘temporary preaching place’ was opened in 1843, followed by the first Trinity Church in Mill Street in1849. The first Wesleyan Minister in Crewe was Rev William Henley.
Crewe was expanding rapidly at this time, due to the transfer of the Grand Junction Railway Works from Liverpool in 1843 and then the erection of the New Works in 1861. It grew from a small village to a town of 48,000 in a few decades. The Wesleyan Society made great advances and built churches at Warmingham Road (1868), Hightown (1868), and North Street (1869), as well as Day and Sunday Schools at Mill Street and Hightown. Four Primitive Methodist Churches were also built in Crewe between 1855 and 1866.
The new church at Mill Street
In 1869 Crewe became the head of its own Circuit and the Trustees of Trinity Church realized they were in need of a ‘larger and more convenient’ place of worship. Through the efforts of the congregation and the minister, Rev John Kirtlan, a new Trinity Church was built in Mill Street and opened on 30th May 1877. The preacher at the opening service was Rev Marmaduke C.Osborn.
The new building cost over £5000 and could seat in excess of 1000 people. It was considered one of the’ most handsome and commodious places of worship in the county’. It was sixteen years before the debt was finally paid off from the proceeds of a Great Four Days’ Bazaar held in the Town hall in March 1893, which raised £1000.
In 1894 six cottages and some land adjoining the Church were purchased to build new Sunday School premises. Mrs Craven’s Young Ladies’ Bible Class raised the first £90 for this project by holding a May Fair. The new buildings were part of a ‘big Scheme’ to redecorate the church and clean and enlarge the organ. Another Four Day Bazaar raised £700 and eventually the new Sunday Schools were opened in 1909.
To mark the Jubilee of the Church in 1927 it was decided to clean and redecorate the church and overhaul and enlarge the organ. Various fundraising events were held to fund this project and pay off the final debt from the school building.
Jubilee Celebration Services were held during May and June 1927. The preacher at the re-opening on 22nd May was Rev Dr W. J. Webb Anderson, and then Rev W. A. Beckett from Lowestoft preached at the Jubilee Celebration Services on 29th May. A procession of Church Members was led by the youngest, six-year old Gordon Wakefield, who had been given his class ticket at his Baptism and later became a Methodist Minister. There followed a Thanksgiving Tea and Great Jubilee Meeting on 30th May at which the local MP and Mayor spoke. Celebrations concluded on 5th June with morning and evening services lead by Rev Albert Lloyd from Nantwich and a special children’s Jubilee Service in the afternoon.
At the time of the Jubilee the normal pattern of worship at Trinity was Divine Worship on Sundays at 10.30am and 6.30pm with Sunday school at 10am and 2pm.There were weekday fellowship meetings, Wesley Guild on Thursdays at 8pm and a Bible study led by the Minister on Monday evenings. There was a Band of Hope and a sewing meeting. The choir practised every Tuesday and the Sunday School teachers had preparation meetings every week. The Sunday School had three departments and a team of about thirty teachers and four pianists. Boy Scouts and ‘Camp Fire Girls’ also met on the premises.
The Ministers at Trinity between 1874 and 1927
1874 Rev John Kirtlan
1877 Rev R Newton Barritt
1879 Rev James L Posnett
1880 Rev William Lees
1883 Rev John Emberton
1886 Rev John H Loxley
1889 Rev Robert C Barratt
1892 Rev Thomas Craven
1895 Rev William E Gardner
1898 Rev James Bryant
1901 Rev William Bell
1904 Rev William Hunt
1907 Rev Jonathan Hewitson
1911 Rev Theodore Bishop
1914 Rev William A Beckett
1919 Rev Ralph Philipson
1922 Rev Albert Lloyd
1925 Rev George Herbert Schofield
Trinity Methodist Church closed in 1967 and has since been demolished. The information and photos above come from a booklet produced to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Trinity Church in 1927. Do you have any memories of life there between 1927 and 1967? Please add a comment or email admin@mymethodisthistory,org.uk