Gedney Drove End Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire

An early image of what may have been the Drove End Wesleyan

This chapel figured more in local Anglican history than that of the Wesleyans. Built in 1810, it stood near the sea boundary (Drove End) of Gedney parish and had sittings for 90 and free space for 60.

The superintendent minister at the time of opening was James Penman of the Wisbech Wesleyan Circuit, this from where the chapel was served. The early date suggests it might have been a branch of the 1790 Long Sutton chapel although Myles only notes the latter in his 1812 list. Also in this parish was Gedney Dyke Wesleyan of 1815.

By 1860, a declining membership – probably not helped by the surging popularity of the Primitive Methodists – forced its closure.

It stood redundant until hired as a mission room in 1862 by the pioneering William Patchell, priest of the newly created (Anglican) Ecclesiastical District. Mr Patchell, yet to build his church, wrote: “The Wesleyan Chapel at the Drove End being closed…I have rented it for a year…to have a service on Sunday evenings…and a lecture on Wednesday evenings.”

What proved to be a popular mission was to be rented for many more years. It was retained for those unable to travel to neighbouring Dawsmere following the building of the new church, and was still in use in the 1890s. It closed by the end of that decade or soon after. Long since demolished.

Note: The Methodist Statistical Returns of 1940 erroneously list Drove End Methodist chapel as the former Wesleyan. It was, of course, the former Primitive which closed in 1993.

Sources include:
Chronological History of the People Called Methodists pub 1813 Myles W
Census of Religious Worship 1851
Hall’s Circuits & Ministers (1765–1912) pub 1912
Dawsmere: Story of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Gedney Drove End c.1975 Healey K

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