West Leake is a small village in Nottinghamshire, whose population peaked at 190 in 1851, and where a Wesleyan Methodist cause met in a dwelling house for a number of years. The 1829 returns of dissenters for Nottinghamshire noted that the Wesleyan Methodists had a licenced dwelling house in West Leake. The cause appears on the Loughborough Circuit preaching plan in 1845, and the Steward made a return to the 1851 Religious Census.
House, not a separate building used exclusively for worship
Space: free 50
Present: Morn Aft Eve
General Congregation – – 55
Wm. Mills, Steward and Leader
The registration appears to have lapsed by 1867, as the house is not recorded in the list published by the Registrar General, and the 1873 returns of accommodation of the Wesleyan Methodists also fails to mention it. There was a flourishing chapel in East Leake, a mile or so away.
William Mills was born in West Leake in 1801 and he and his brother are recorded as master basket makers in East Leake in the censuses from 1841 onward. We can be certain that we have the right William Mills as he wished the enumerator to record that he was also a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher in 1861 and 1871. He died in February 1873.
In the centre of West Leake one building is marked with a plaque, as an alehouse and basket making workshop. It appears that a number of members of the Mills family were involved in basket making. This was probably not the site of the licenced dwelling house, but would have been within 100 yards of the site. Perhaps others might know more, and can help with this mystery?
Nottinghamshire Record Office C/QDR/2/10
The National Archives HO 129/415/2/12
Census returns 1841 to 1871