Kirton Holme Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire

The 1820 chapel
D Secker
1903 chapel as taken in 2022. The datestone is in the apex.
D Secker

Prior to the first known Wesleyan chapel at Kirton Holme, which is a village carved out of the large parish of Kirton near Boston, “cottage services were held in a tenement inhabited by a widow, Mrs Twigg”.

The first chapel (extant) was built in 1820 on “land bought from William Taylor at a cost of £5–5s of lawful money well and truly paid”. Situated on Kirton Holme Road, it cost £180 to build and seated 161. For the first two years it was in the Folkingham Wesleyan circuit, or at least under its superintendent minister, and thereafter a member of the Boston Wesleyan circuit.

On the front elevation, an engraved stone plaque reads: Methodist Church MDCCCXX. In all likelihood the original windows were replaced so as to match those of the new chapel, rather than vice versa.

“The onward march of Wesleyanism” saw the new chapel erected in 1903 on an adjacent plot purchased from Joshua Aspland for £2–2s. Built in the “simple Gothic style”, of Peterborough red brick relieved with Bath stone dressings, it was designed by William Hinson of the Stamford building firm. However, the builder was John R Baker of Moulton Chapel who also designed and built two similar chapels, one in his home village and the other at Pinchbeck West.

The two men were stalwarts of the Wesleyan cause. The striking similarities in architecture suggest variations on an original theme (probably) by Hinson. He had already used the design for other chapels, some having the ‘apsidal style’ canted-bay front as at Wansford,

Presiding at the laying of foundation stones on 20th August was superintendent minister, the Rev G Camburn. William Dennis, of Kirton House, performed the unlocking ceremony in the December when the Rev Edward Brailsford (Lincoln Wesley circuit) preached.

Within the roomy interior, the floor gradually sloped towards the pulpit, the back seats thus raised. The cost was in excess of £700. The old chapel (linked) was retained as a Sunday school and general hall. Seating capacity was recorded as 166 but this reduced to 100 by 1940.

Following Methodist, union the sectional title was dropped, and the circuit changed name to become Boston (Centenary) Methodist. The chapel closed in 1962 and was purchased for £800 by the Church of England in 1964; for long their congregation had made use of a small mission hut.

Although the rest of the story belongs to the Anglicans, it is interesting to note that among the internal alterations they made were those to the seating: the traditional nonconformist layout of two aisles was re-ordered so as to create a centre aisle. To achieve this, the pews were sawn through where necessary and re-joined. This, if nothing else, is a visible reminder of the denominational origins of this place. And a reminder too of the strange things that sometimes betoken division.

The building is now known as Christ Church, Kirton Holme, and is open for services and events.

Sources include
Wesleyan Returns of Accommodation 1873
Boston Guardian 22nd August 1903 and 12th December 1903
Methodist Church Buildings Statistical Returns 1940
Lincolnshire Standard 12th December 1953
Kirton Holme Church Website

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