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Primitive Methodists in Heath and Reach

Woburn Road about 1900 showing the Primitive Methodist chapel
Woburn Road about 1900 showing the Primitive Methodist chapel [Z50/57/6]

The first registration of a Primitive Methodist meeting in Heath and Reach was on 19th May 1862 when a building, the property of Robert Belgrave, occupied by James Northwood, was registered by the minister Samuel Turner of Aylesbury [Buckinghamshire]. This was either the house itself or a barn rather than a purpose built chapel. This was cancelled on 31st December 1866 as the new chapel, called Ebenezer Primitive Methodist Chapel had been built and registered on 27th April 1864 by William Birks of Leighton Buzzard, the new minister.

The Leighton Buzzard Primitive Methodist Circuit Register [MB1537] notes that additional land was acquired in 1877 and 1878. The registration was cancelled on 23rd March 1906, the chapel having been sold in 1903 to the Vicar of Heath and Reach, William Wallis Richards as he notes in a book called Parochialia for the parish [P84/0/1]: "February 12th: I succeeding [sic] in completing the purchase of the Primitive Methodist Chapel. This has not been used for service for 18 months, and I intend to make it a room for the use of the Parish and shall name it "The Hall". A place is much wanted in the Parish that we can use for meetings of different kinds". This implies that the chapel closed about September 1901.

 The old Primitive Methodist Chapel April 2008
The old Primitive Methodist Chapel April 2008

It is not known at what date The Hall was sold. Rev. Richards' statement seems to imply that he bought the building and that it did not become church property; certainly there is no mention of it in church records. At the time of writing [2009] the building is a retail outlet  - Chapel Flooring.