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Primitive Methodists in Kempston

The first Primitive Methodist chapel seen in September 2007
The first Primitive Methodist chapel seen in September 2007

The history of the Primitive Methodists in Kempston is not easy to understand. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not have very much about the denomination and the information on their origins in the town comes from a Trustee account book begun in 1940 [MB1802] which gives a distillation of the history to that point. It notes "The appointments of Trustees and the consolidation of the Trust Estate originally took place in July 1854. The Deed was drawn up in harmony with the Connexional Model Deed.” At that date the chapel formed part of the Bedford Mission (Hull) Circuit. In 1867 it was transferred to the Bedford Primitive Circuit. In 1897 the chapel became part of the Bedford II, later known as Cauldwell Street, Circuit.

The Trustee account book states: “In 1898 the original property was sold and the present Chapel erected which is intended as a School Chapel the ground in front being left for the Chapel proper. The Deed was prepared and enrolled Feby 1897 and is after the Connexional Model Deed". The Primitive chapel is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1882 for Kempston on the south corner of Saint John's Walk and Saint John's Road. The building still exists but is now a private house called "The Niche".

The new Primitive Methodist chapel was registered in 1898 in Bedford Road between Silverdale Street and Margetts Road by Richard Newman Wycherley of 20 Ampthill Road, Bedford, the minister.

In 1932 the Primitive Methodists came together with the Wesleyan and United Methodists to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The new church now had three chapels in the town, Kempston East and Kempston West, former Wesleyan Methodist meetings, as well as the former Primitive chapel in Bedford Road. Nevertheless all three chapels remained open. Kempston was a growing community and the three chapels were all reasonably well spaced from one another.

However, the former Primitive chapel closed in 1958. It was used as Newtown Youth Centre for two years until sold in 1960 and is now [2007] a homecare outlet.

The site of the second Primitive Methodist chapel September 2007
The site of the second Primitive Methodist chapel September 2007