Gosberton Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire

Photo: D Secker

Gosberton’s “Old Wesleyan Society” was active in the early years of the nineteenth century. Although conjectural, members may have met in a house or preaching room as there is nothing to suggest the existence of a chapel. By 1820 it was on the plan of the Spalding Wesleyan circuit.

The first known chapel opened on Thurday 20th November 1834 with sermons by the Rev Robert Newton (a future President of the Wesleyan Conference). Standing on High Street, this capacious, brick-built edifice had seating for 192.

By 1850, the Reform movement had taken control of the chapel, leading to disturbances. At one such incident, so we are told, the official preacher was physically prevented from taking the pulpit as Reformers installed their own preacher. A journalist described these proceedings as “more befitting a playhouse than the house of God”. A vote in 1852 deprived Reformers of the management of the building ( – they subsequently met in a house near the Five Bells Inn until opening their own Reform/Free Methodist chapel on Church Street in 1854).

Renovation took place in 1857, thus described by the press as “repairs to the Conference chapel”. A pipe organ (unknown make) in a Gothic case, having two manuals, pedals, ten stops and gilt speaking pipes, was installed in 1870. Supplied by a music seller in Holbeach, it was almost certainly second-hand.

The chapel closed in 1878 but was retained as a Sunday school until 1937, after which it was sold. It is now a dwelling.

The second Wesleyan (present chapel) was built on Salem Place (now Street) in 1878. Chairman of the Lincoln District, the Rev Benjamin Waddy, was guest preacher at the opening on 7th November, the stone-laying ceremony having been performed in the June. The building, of brick with stone dressings and pinnacles, is in the Gothic style.

It was licensed for marriages in 1881, the first being between William Hardy and Annie Boyer on 27th October in that year. Annie was the daughter of Charles Boyer (of Gosberton Hall) who had laid one of the foundation stones here.

In 1937, the Sunday school relocated here from the old chapel when internal alterations were made to accommodate this move. One of the major changes entailed the construction of a folding partition which divided the interior into two separate spaces. The re-opening took place in the March with Sir James Blindell MP as one of the speakers.

After Methodist union (1932) it eventually dropped its sectional title. It became the only Methodist chapel in Gosberton on the closure of the former United Methodist (1952). However, this was not the outcome envisaged by a Methodist Commission: their recommendation had been that the ex-UMC should become the sole Methodist and the ex-Wesleyan retained as a Sunday school only.

A fine (extant) pipe organ by Peter Conacher & Co., formerly in the Crescent chapel Spalding, was installed in 1955 during which time the congregation used the redundant UMC.

Circuit membership: Spalding Wesleyan; then Spalding Methodist; and presently South Holland.

The building is open for regular services and events. The interior has been altered again, providing a worship cum activities area and separate kitchen and toilet facilities.

Following restoration, the four foundation stones on the front elevation of the building were re-dedicated at the chapel anniversary on 4th November 2018.

Sources include:
Wesleyan Returns of Accommodation 1873
Stamford Mercury 20th June 1851 and 15th November 1878
Spalding Guardian 5th November 1937
Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940

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