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Wesleyan Methodists In Clifton

There were Wesleyan Methodists in Clifton as early as 1839 when the Biggleswade and Hitchin Circuit notes that Clifton had been moved into the Hitchin and Letchworth Circuit. Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies has a circuit baptism register from 1838 to 1861 which includes Clifton [NM4/52].

Volume 110 published by the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1996 and edited by Edwin Welch contains registrations of Bedfordshire nonconformist meetings drawn from a number of sources. In November 1848 the house occupied by Elizabeth West was registered by Wright Shovelton of Biggleswade [ABN1/2 and 2/402 and MB1441]. It is known that Shovelton was a Wesleyan who assisted in the registration of numerous chapels in the county. Unfortunately the exact location of the chapel is not recorded but it must have been discontinued by the early 1880s as neither the 25 inches to the mile scale Ordnance Survey maps for the eastern part of the village (1882), nor the west (1883) show a Methodist chapel.

On Sunday 30th March 1851 a census was held by every place of worship in the country, recording numbers of attendees at the various ervices held throughout the day. The Bedfordshire returs were compiled by David W. Bushby and published in 1975 as Volume 54 by the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society. the return for the Wesleyans was made by the steward, W. Usher who recorded the general congregation that evening as just thirty. The chapel could hold fifty.