Downham Market Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Norfolk

D Secker

The extant building of 1813* is situated on Cannon Square (Hogge Hill), Lynn Road. It has a gault-brick front elevation with parapet and pediment.

Major improvements carried out in 1866 included a new roof, seating, vestries and enlarged Sunday school accommodation. Re-opening took place on Sunday 21st October that year. Seating capacity is recorded as 580 (1873) and 318 (1940).

Costloe & Son of Isleham erected a two-manual pipe organ in 1875-76 and placed it on a gallery. Following the chapel’s closure the instrument went to Feltwell Methodist church.

Further work in 1881, internally and externally, saw the entrance porch added – a hexagram can be seen on a stone above its door. New schoolrooms were opened in 1894.

In 1910, a visiting preacher had his sermon rudely interrupted during morning worship. The sermon, presumably politically charged, was challenged by a congregant who then left the building. A sermon few would have forgotten!

As a consequence of the amalgamation of the town’s three Methodist churches, the ex-Wesleyan closed in 1964 and is now a private residence. Today, Methodism in Downham is served by the church built in Paradise Road in 1966.

*Build date also given as 1810. The date above is taken from a report in 1881.

Sources include
Norfolk Chronicle 27th October 1866
Norwich Mercury 19th February 1876
Weslyan Returns of Accommodation 1873
Norwich Mercury 22nd January 1881

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