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Methodism in Flitwick

Flitwick Methodist Chapel about 1930 [Z50/50/8]
Flitwick Methodist Chapel about 1930 [Z50/50/8]

Edwin Welch researched the history of registrations in Bedfordshire for Bedfordshire Historical Records Society Volume 75 Bedfordshire Chapels and Meeting Houses [published in 1996] and found that the newly built Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Chapel Road was registered on 18th November 1873 by Francis Hewitt of Ampthill, the minister. The Bedfordshire Times of 16th August 1873 tells us that the chapel was built by Wiseman of Ampthill, the architect being C Day of Bedford. The corner stone was laid on 4th August that year and the opening services began on 27th November and concluded on 7th December. A new schoolroom was built in 1897 [MB2/FLK/6/1386]

The chapel was part of the Bedford and Ampthill Circuit until 1875 and the Ampthill Circuit until 1971. It then became part of the Bedford South and Ampthill Circuit until 2011 when it became part of the North Bedfordshire Circuit. The chapel is still open for worship at the time of writing [2017] and has a modern extension at the front, which is actually furthest from Chapel Road as it is the rear of the premises which faces the road.

Methodism has been in Flitwick before 1873, however. The Bedford Primitive Methodist Circuit baptism register [MB1854] lists Flitwick people from 1841. On Sunday 30th March 1851 the only religious census was held, recording numbers of people attending places of worship on that day. No Methodist meetings are listed, so clearly Methodists from Flitwick attended worship elsewhere, probably in Ampthill, Greenfield, Steppingley or Westoning. In 1932 the Wesleyan, Primitive and United Methodists came together to create the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

Flitwick Methodist church April 2017
Flitwick Methodist Church April 2017

Bedfordshire Archive and Record Service has the following records for the Methodist church in Flitwick (note the records are subject to a thirty year closure period from the final date of each record):

  • MB2/FLK/6/1386: correspondence on the affairs of the chapel: 1872-1897;
  • MB2/FLK/3/2632: collection book: 1873-1899;
  • MB2/FLK/2/2631: minutes of trustees’ meetings: 1902-1926;
  • MB2/FLK/7/4753: Sunday school minute book: 1907-1957;
  • MB2/FLK/3/1387: accounts of the heating apparatus fund: 1917-1920;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4711: minutes of leaders’ meetings: 1928-1928;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4711: minutes of trustees’ meetings: 1943-1967;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4712: annual church meeting minute book: 1948-1992;
  • MB2/FLK3/4748: trust account books: 1951-1967;
  • MB2/FLK/7/4754: Sunday school council minute book: 1958-1972;
  • MB2/FLK/3/4749: account book: 1972-1977;
  • MB2/FLK/10/4751: Light from the Cottage: A Century of Methodism in Flitwick 1873-1973: 1973;
  • MB2/FLK/5/4750: service booklet: 1978;
  • MB2/FLK/6/4459: quinquennial inspection certificates: 1983-2005;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4718-4734: annual reports: 1987/88-2003/04;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4713-4716: church council meeting minutes: 1991-2004;
  • MB2/FLK/2/4717: annual general church meeting minutes: 1993-2004;
  • MB2/FLK/3/4735-4747: treasurer’s report and accounts: 1993-2004;
  • MB1/BSA/14/4426: concern about effect on Flitwick of changes to structure of North Bedfordshire Circuit: 2010;
  • MB2/FLK/10/4752: booklet celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible for a festival weekend: 2011
  • MB2/FLK/3/4457: statements of financial affairs of managing trustees: 2000-2004;
  • MB2/FLK/6/4460: property and legal matters report forms: 2000-2006;

MB2/FLK/3/4458: church receipts and payments accounts: 2004-2007.