Moulton Washway Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire

Photo 2022
D Secker
Photo 2022
D Secker

Moulton Washway (far distant from Moulton village) is in Moulton Marsh, hence the chapel was also known by that name. There were Methodists from the nearby hamlet of Fosdyke Bridge who attended this place, and relations with the ‘Primitives’ in Fosdyke village were cordial.

The first chapel (sometimes erroneously labelled as Primitive Methodist) was built on Red Cow Drove. Appropriately, this being an agricultural area, it was opened on 20th August 1843 by the man with “mighty pulpit powers” the celebrated Wesleyan evangelist and revivalist, Charles Richardson, commonly known by his sobriquet “The Lincolnshire Thrasher”.

According to the Census of Religious Worship (1851) completed by Zachariah Twell, the parish churchwarden there were 110 sittings. However, according to later returns it had just 52. These figures should be taken with a pinch of salt: recommended measurement was “not less than 18 inches, and not more than 20 inches, for each sitting”.

Sunday school classes were being held in a marquee by 1863 owing to the large numbers attending. Renovation and re-opening of the chapel took place in 1893 when the Rev William Farndale (Chairman of the District) preached.

The chapel was demolished and replaced with a new building (extant) of red brick on the same site in 1910. The Stamford Mercury of Friday 29th July 1910 records: “On Wednesday the ceremony of laying foundation stones of the new Wesleyan chapel at Moulton Washway took place. A public tea in a large tent was well attended. In the evening there was a public meeting, Mr E. B. Proctor of Gosberton presiding. Addresses were given by the Revs. Paul Shipley and E. Marshall, and others.”

Seating was for 80, and though no separate schoolroom was provided, moveable benches made it possible to hold events other than services. A brick, lean-to vestry was built onto the rear wall and accessed via a door next to the pulpit.

This small, solitary edifice was a hive of activity during its heyday, for it seemed that people came from here, there, and everywhere. It served an expansive area of scattered houses rather than a defined community.

Social changes post-WW2, and dwindling numbers attending the chapel by the 1960s, led to its demise. The final service took place on 20th May 1973.

The relevant circuits were Spalding Wesleyan, then Holbeach Wesleyan from 1874 (first chapel); and Holbeach Wesleyan, then Holbeach Methodist post-union (second chapel).

After various uses it fell into a parlous state until sympathetically restored and converted into a dwelling c.2014. Externally, the building has been left much as it was and retains its datestone: Wesleyan Church 1910.

Sources include

Stamford Mercury 17th November 1893 and 29th July 1910

Wesleyan Returns of Accommodation 1873

The Peasant Preacher Coulson J E pub 1877

Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical Returns 1940 pub 1947

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