Swineshead Wesleyan Chapel, Lincolnshire

D Secker
D Secker

A Wesleyan chapel, costing £350 and seating 275, opened in 1845 on High Street and is still there after making a comeback! A separate Sunday school was added in 1866. (It was from here that Reformers seceded and built their own chapel in South Street.)

By the turn of the C20th the building was considered unsuitable. A new chapel, adjacent to the old (retained as a Sunday school), opened on 13th March 1908. At the opening, Mr J Rayson and Mrs J Skinner carried out the unlocking ceremony. The Rev J W Keyworth officiated and the Rev John Hornabrook preached.

Designed by A E Lambert of Nottingham, it was constructed in brick, with stone dressings, pinnacles and spirelet. Builders were Messrs Parker & Son of Boston. Costing £1650, it accommodated 340, was lit by acetylene gas and had a solid fuel heating system. In 1942 the chapel advertised for “a stoker to attend to the heating apparatus at weekends”.

Fast forward to the 1980s and the “modern” edifice had lost its shine. Applications were made to demolish both chapels owing to the “millstone of restoration and maintenance costs”, and build a smaller one. But this was easier said than done. A Listed Building (Grade II) order was applied in respect of the old chapel, rather stealthily thought some! It appears that the listing may have been made on the assumption that the building was from 1815 rather than 1845. Among several organisations keen to prevent demolition was the Victorian Society.

As a matter of interest, the 1815 date may well have had some relevance insofar as a Wesleyan Society existed here in the early years of the C19th. A chapel of sorts (meeting house or preaching room) was on the Spalding Wesleyan Circuit plan in 1819. It is said that in the year of John Wesley’s death (1791) there were “as many as 70 Methodists in Swineshead, but none in Holbeach”.

Consequently, the 1908 building was demolished and the original chapel became Swineshead Methodist Church, which it remains to this day. Also remaining is the datestone: Wesleyan Chapel 1845.

Circuit membership: Spalding Wesleyan 1845 to c.1875; Boston Wesleyan until union; Boston (Centenary) Methodist; and presently Boston Methodist.

Sources include

Wesleyan Returns of Accommodation 1873

Buildings of England, Lincolnshire Pevsner N

Boston Guardian 14 March 1908

Spalding Guardian 18 September 1987

Churches, Chapels and the Parish Communities of Lincolnshire Ambler R W pub 2000

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