Belper Wesleyan Methodist chapel

A visit to Belper today identified a former Wesleyan chapel on Chapel Street.

The story of Methodism in Belper, including, John Wesley preaching in Belper Market Place under a large tree in 1786, is outlined on the Belper Historical Society here:

https://belperhistoricalsociety.co.uk/methodism-in-belper/

It reveals that the chapel opened in 1807 with a Sunday school added behind in 1842.

Thank you to GW Oxley for the additional photographs

Belper Wesleyan Methodist chapel

Comments about this page

  • I visited this church a few years ago when I knew the minister, but I was having a day off from working on Methodist heritage matters.

    The chapel is a listed building https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1081535, as are the gate piers https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1335669 and the tombs of the Bourne family https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1335686. Belper is clearly a hotspot for Methodist chapels worth preservation, as three others, Belper Pottery, Milford Ebenezer and Zion, Holbrook Road have also been listed.

    G. Arthur Fletcher wrote “Records of Wesleyan Methodism in the Belper Circuit, 1760-1903” in 1903 and it is available to view at https://archive.org/details/28453913.1903.emory.edu/page/n3/mode/2up The book probably contains a great deal of detail about the various chapels.

    This particular chapel is definitely worth a visit, although English Heritage have revised the listing to reflect the modernisation of the interior.

    By Philip Thornborow (22/12/2023)
  • Belper Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built of stone in 1807 at a coat of £3000. It is set on an ample site which also contains a Sunday school building, a scout and guide hut, the site of a burial ground, and a car park
    The façade is five bays wide with flat topped windows on two levels. The middle three bays are on a shallow projection surmounted by a plain pediment which are echoed by a smaller version above the central doorway. The sides are of three bays, also flat headed. The rear wall is without openings apart from one which was later blocked to allow the construction of a semi octagonal rear extension.
    Behind the chapel is the brick Sabbath school building erected in 1844. Some of the original round headed windows may be seen on the side. A rear extension was added in 190? which contains several badly weathered foundation stones. Discontinuities in the brickwork suggest that the stone laid by the officers, teachers and scholars and its surrounding bricks bearing the initials of individuals was a later addition. A side extension and new entrance were added ?c1960s or70s. Adjacent to the school is an undated scout and guide hut. The grassed area to the front and side of the chapel were formerly a burial ground. Most of the memorial stones were of slate and the inscriptions are very well preserved. For ease of maintenance the memorial stones have been moved to the edges of the site. There is also a row of chest tombs and a sculptured monument which has been left in situ.
    This is an important site and well worth a visit. If the records have been preserved as well as the buildings have there is much scope for further research. It would be good to know the dates and costs of the various extensions and the identities of the designers and builders. It would also be interesting to know more about the interior and its fixtures and fittings. Does anything survive from the early days? If not what was changed?, when? at what cost? Who were the designers and makers?
    Site visit 11.11.2023

    By G W Oxley (21/12/2023)

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