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Methodism in Chalton

Wesley House - the former Methodist Chapel February 2016
Wesley House - the former Methodist Chapel February 2016

Methodists at Chalton first appear in the records of the Bedford Circuit in 1803. In 1808 it was transferred to the Luton Wesleyan Circuit where it remained until 1843 when it became one of the original members of the Dunstable Circuit. On Sunday 30th March 1851 a census of all churches, chapels and preaching-houses of every denomination was undertaken in England and Wales. The local results were published by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1975 as Volume 54, edited by D. W. Bushby. According to the return made by Richard Medcroft, steward, the first Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Chalton was built in 1836, but religious services had been held in a house since 1800. The chapel could accommodate 160 worshippers, with 70 free seats, 50 other seats and room for 40 standing. The general congregation was 20 in the morning, 80 in the afternoon and 80 in the evening, with 50 Sunday Scholars at each of the three services. This original chapel was situated about one hundred yards closer to the centre of the village than its replacement, which was built in 1907 at the eastern edge of the village on the Luton to Toddington road.

Chalton Methodist Church closed in 1981 and is now a private house. Memories of Methodist life at Chalton can be found in The Dunstable Methodist Circuit: 150 years of Witness (ed. Colin Bourne).

Records held by Bedfordshire Archives include:

  • MB2/CHA/1/2805: Baptism register, 1961-1976
  • MB2/CHA/2/1662-3: Trustees minutes, 1906-1981