Melton Mowbray, Sage Cross Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (ii), Leicestershire

The chapel site in 1909
Gill. Josiah The history of Wesleyan Methodism in Melton Mowbray and the vicinity (1909) frontispiece

Sage Cross Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1871. By 1882 the numbers attending had become so great that consideration was being given to incorporating the lobby into the chapel to provide extra seating. That and other improvements were expected to cost £100. From 1873 to 1931 the chapel seated 700 persons (750 in 1901). In 1940 the chapel was 54 feet long and 44 feet wide (58½ into the transepts). It seated 340 on the floor of the chapel, 280 in the gallery which occupied three sides of the building, and 30 in the choir gallery behind the pulpit, 650 in all. All the seating was in pews. There were two Sunday school halls (probably one above the other in the one school building) measuring 54 feet by 44 feet wide (58½ into the transepts) and 56¼ feet by 36½. There were eleven other rooms which served as vestries, classrooms and for “some institute purposes”.

An Ordnance Survey map published in 1886 shows building set back from Sage Cross Street. It was roughly square and had projecting structures at each corner (?towers, ?access to the gallery). Behind the chapel was a burial ground. Some time later the school building was erected. It stood at right angles to the chapel and fronted onto Timber Hill. In 1897 a new frontage was added to the school It had a foundation stone and a plaque indicating that it was called Wesleyan Centenary Building. The range of buildings appear little changed by 1930. More recently the original chapel has been demolished and site incorporated in a supermarket car park. This event could have been the stimulus for building an extension in the angle between school and the chapel site in 1987.

Taken as a whole these buildings are mostly very plain but the 1987 extension has two decorative features worthy of mention. The grey background to the cross on the gable end gives it added prominence and one of the windows contains a coloured glass feature which seems stylistically so out of character with the rest of the building that one wonders whether it was salvaged from an earlier chapel.

The premises continue to be used as a Methodist place of worship.

Sources

Leicester Journal, 21.4.1882 p.2

John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Melton Circuit 1873/499, 1881/565, 1891/612, 1901/625, 1911/591, 1931/598

John Rylands Library University of Manchester DDPD2 Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Melton Circuit, 1931/598

John Rylands Library University of Manchester, DDPD1 Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st 1940/694

Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st 1940 No 694

Ordnance Survey Leicestershire Sheet XX 5, 1886, 1904 and 1930

Site visit 17.9.2022

Comments about this page

  • I have added a photograph of the chapel which answers some of the questions raised. Note that the site also included a chapel keeper’s house.

    By Philip Thornborow (22/09/2023)

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