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Methodism in Milton Ernest

The chapel elevation [Z1343/1/1]
The chapel elevation [Z1343/1/1]

The Wesleyan Methodist meeting at Milton Ernest formed part of the Ampthill Circuit until 1875. The earliest mention of the meeting in records held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service is in 1833 when a Sunday school was begun The chapel stood in Parkside close to the junction with Radwell Road.

On 30th March 1851 a census was taken of every place of worship in the country. The return for Milton Ernest Wesleyan Methodist chapel was made by trustee and manager John Purner. He stated that the building dated from 1819 and had sixty free seats and sixty others as well as standing room in an aisle measuring four feet by twenty six feet. The general congregation in the morning had been 35 with 30 Sunday scholars, in the afternoon 30 Sunday scholars and in the evening there was a general congregation of 120. The averages for the preceding year had been 35 to 40 congregation with 37 to 30 Sunday scholars in the morning, 27 to 30 Sunday scholars in the afternoon and 120 congregation in the evening.

The Wesleyan Methodist chapel was registered on 9th February 1854 by William Henry Clarkson of Harpur Street, Bedford, the Superintendent Minister of the Circuit. In 1875 the chapel moved into the Saint Paul's Circuit.

In 1952 the chapel became part of the new Bedford North Circuit. The chapel closed in 1970 and sold in 1971. The chapel's registration was not cancelled until 29th June 1973. The old building as demolished in 1976. Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service has the following records:

  • MB83: trustees' minute book: 1876-1888;
  • MB1342: trust account book: 1893-1960;
  • MB2810: trustees' minute book: 1902-1957;
  • MB1340: Baptism register: 1923-1970;
  • MB1341: trustees' minute book: 1957-1973;
  • MB1343: trust account book: 1960-1971;
  • MB1344: collection journal: 1963-1970.

Chapel plan [Z1343/1/1]
Chapel plan [Z1343/1/1]

There was never a Primitive Methodist meeting in Milton Ernest but the names of two Primitive families from the village are recorded in the circuit baptism book [MB1854]. They are as follows:

  • 29th July 1880: George, son of Thomas (labourer) and Alice Warwick (born Oakley 7 May 1879);
  • 8th April 1880: Margaret Rosalie, daughter of Arthur (signalman) and Rose Emmett (born at Milton Ernest 21st January 1880).