Quorndon or Quorn Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

Quorn, Leicestershire

John Wesley preached in Loughborough in 1770, 1780 and 1783, and in Mountsorrel in 1783 and 1787 (it rained on both occasions), but although he must have ridden through Quorndon to get from one to the other in 1783 the first chapel is not recorded until 1819. A series of photographs collected by the Quorn Village On-line Museum (www.quornmuseum.com) illustrate the first century of Quorn Methodism, and I gratefully acknowledge their permission to reproduce.

There is evidence of a society at Quorndon in the Leicester and Nottingham Circuit accounts in 1776, 1780 and 1791, and of a membership of 43 in 1810.

The obituary for Mrs Sarah Raven in The Wesleyan- Methodist Magazine in 1849 states that she was converted in 1796 by Rev. William Timperley, and with 10 others formed a society who met in Mr and Mrs Raven’s house for 7 years.

A chapel was built on High Street in 1822. As can be seen from the photograph taken in about 1910 it appears to have been typical of its time.

Thomas Ravens, the Steward, reported that on 31st March 1851 (the Religious Census) the morning attendance had been 25 adults and 52 Sunday School scholars, whilst in the evening 54 adults and 27 scholars were present. There was space for 200.

The 1873 Returns of Accommodation list Quorndon as seating 165.

In 1906 the Joyful News Mission, based at Cliff College, sent out a Gospel Car to re-evangelise the village. The photograph shows the Wesleyan Home Missions Gospel Car No.1 “Faith” parked in what are now the Memorial Gardens in the centre of Quorn. The Mission seems to have been successful, as a new chapel was built the following year.  There was a stone laying ceremony for a new chapel on 1 April, 1907, which was fully reported in the Melton Mowbray Mercury and Oakham and Uppingham News

Memorial stones were laid on Monday afternoon in the new chapel, which is in course of erection for the Wesleyan Methodists at Quorn. The present building, which dates from the year 1822 has for long past been both inadequate and unsuitable to the requirements of the denomination in the village, and the possibility of a new chapel has been eagerly awaited for several years. The site of the new building is immediately in front of the old, and abuts on the main street. It is to accommodate 250, and this will be augmented on Sunday School anniversaries, etc., to the extent of another 150 by opening screens between the new chapel and the old, which will be adapted for a schoolroom. The front is to be Mountsorrel granite, with Derbyshire stone dressings, and the windows will be glazed with leaded lights. The general design is late Free Gothic, one admirably adapted for Nonconformist buildings. The cost, including site, etc., of the whole scheme, will be about £1.600, and the work is being carried out by Mr. Joseph Hand and Mr. W. H. Fewkes, the former being responsible for woodwork, and the latter for the stone and brickwork. Mr. Alfred Hendy of Milton Chambers, Nottingham, is the architect.
The Rev E. Gelder (superintendent minister) conducted the stone-laying proceedings, which were attended by a large number of members of the circuit. Amongst those present were the Rev . Moorhouse Thorpe (chairman of the district), the Rev. C. J. Hoskin and the Rev. W. Broadley, Mrs. T. Champness (Lutterworth), Mrs. Randle, Messrs. T Heggs, J. Ingleson, S. Waite. C. Gamble, J. Hand, T. Bramley, S. Clarke, E. Liner, J. Thornton, T. Scott, E. C. Laundon, A. Grain (Quorn), Dr. Paltridge, Messrs. T. Heath, W Eggleston, A. Richards, W. Flintoft, J. Core, J. Murphy, J. Topping, T. Bass, H. Percy. S. T. Topping, L. V. Murphy, G. Dennis, Makinson (Loughborough), J. S. Smith, M. Smith, J. L. Crosbie (Mountsorrel), S. W. Mayes (Barrow), etc.
After a reading. of Scripture by the Rev. W Broadley and prayer by the Rev. C J. Hoskins, the Rev. E. Gelder made a statement on the undertaking, and referred to the stones about to be laid. Eleven stones were then placed and declared to be well and truly laid by the following: Mrs. Champness, in memory of her husband, the Rev. T. Champness; Mrs. Randle, in memory of her husband, Dr. B. Randle; Miss Pullin, in memory of Miss Wragg; Miss Smith (Accrington), in memory of Mr. Thomas Raven; Mr. T. Bramley, in memory of his father; Miss Bass, in memory of her father; Mrs. Webster and Mrs. Inglesant, for the Women’s Sewing Class; Mr. J. Hand, for the Sunday School; Mr C. Gamble, for the Wesley Guild; Mrs. Gutterldge; and a stone was laid by the Rev. E. Gelder en behalf of Mrs. George P. Jones.
An address was then given by the Rev. Moorhouse Thorpe, who spoke of the effort as one which sustained the traditions of nearly 100 years through which Wesleyan Methodism had been exerting its great power in that neighbourhood. The cause in Quorn started with meetings in a cottage. Then came the building of the chapel in 1822, and now they were putting up a still larger place. He hoped this process of evolution would continue, and that their new sanctuary would prove to be the spiritual home of a great number of people. After referring to the work of the Rev. Thomas Champness and the Rev. Dr. Randle, the speaker said the doctrines which had been held by those honoured men would be proclaimed without fear in the new building. They did not want to shut out modern light, but when, in a house, they wanted to increase the light, they did not start by sapping the foundations. What folly it was to try to upset the foundations on which the very house rested. This was a parable they would easily interpret for themselves.
A vote of thanks to the stone-layers and the Rev Moorhouse Thorne was proposed by Mr. Croslie, seconded by Mr. Heggs and supported by the Rev. C. J. Hoskin. Afterwards a number of bricks were laid by Sunday scholars. An adjournment was made to the Village Hall for tea and in the evening a meeting was held, at which Mr. James Murphy presided, and the speakers included the local ministers and others. The total amount raised during the day’s proceedings was £224.

The formal Chapel opening was on 25 Sept 1907, and we have photographs of that event as well.

  The Joyful News Mission was founded by Rev Thomas Champness (1832-1905) and he was remembered as ‘the friend of village Methodism’ as one of the foundation stones still proclaims. Another stone laid on 1 April 1907 is in memory of Rev Marshall Randles (1826-1904), who was President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1896. His ministry took place mainly in the Wesleyan theological college at Didsbury in Manchester, and he does not seem to have served anywhere near Quorn. Perhaps someone will know what connection he had with the village.

The new chapel of 1907 seated 300, but by 1956 the membership was 28. As nothing but the churchyard separated the Methodist Chapel and parish church, the two congregations merged into a United church in the 1980s.

As the press report notes, although a new chapel had been built the old one had not been demolished, and both survived until 2005 when the site was redeveloped. An historic building impact assessment was carried out and the recommendation was for both buildings to be retained (Hurford, M & Finn, N, 2005, Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, High Street, Quorn: historic building impact assessment (Unpublished document). SLE244. Report is in ADS Library: 10.5284/1009626 – http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1009626 )

In the event it was only the walls of the 1907 chapel that were retained.

Additional Sources:

Richardson, S.Y. Bright Hope: Methodism in Loughborough 1. Heritage vol 7, no.3 April 2006 pp 10 and 22

Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine Series 4 vol. 5, 1849

Melton Mowbray Mercury and Oakham and Uppingham News
Thursday 4th April 1907

Quorn Village On-line Museum (www.quornmuseum.com)


Quorn Methodist Church

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