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Wesleyan Methodists in Salford

The Wesleyan chapel about 1900 [Z50/98/22]
The Wesleyan chapel about 1900 [Z50/98/22]

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service holds the early deeds for the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Salford, which lies on the north side of Broughton Road, near the junction with Wavendon Road [ST1689]. In 1814 an unoccupied blacksmith's shop stood on the site. It had belonged to John Barrett, who died intestate and it was sold by his sister Elizabeth Clark to George Rock of Woburn for £38 [ST1689/2]. Two years later in 1816 Rock sold the shop, for £35, to the first Wesleyan trustees: John Bennett of Aspley Guise, Jethro Inwood and Samuel Burton of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire], William Bennett of Wavendon [Buckinghamshire], James Millard, Henry Summerford and Samuel Emerton all of Salford. It was stated that the shop was to be pulled down and a meetinghouse erected on the site [ST1689/4]. This statement is at odds with photograph of the chapel [Z50/98/22] which shows the legend over the door: "Erected 1814". Either this statement was wrong or the deeds were retrospective and Rock actually gave the land to the trustees as soon as he bought it in 1814.

The chapel was registered twice. The first time was in 1827 by John Stevens of Newport Pagnell, minister [ABN1/2; ABN2/229; ABN3/3, 80]. the second registration was by William Britten of Bow Brickhill [Buckinghamshire], baker, one of the trustees in 1854. This registration was cancelled on 14th March 1876 but the chapel continued after that date. 

The Wesleyan Chapel interior [Z50/98/21]
The Wesleyan Chapel interior [Z50/98/21]

In 1889 a dispute arose with the neighbouring farm and John Tansley of Aspley Guise swore a statutory declaration that for the past fourteen years he had opened and fastened back a shutter on a window on the north side of the chapel which was now being blocked by a fence recently erected around a rick yard in the adjoining farm, built on what had hitherto been waste land [ST1689/8] - the result of this declaration and documents on the resolution of the dispute are, sadly, not held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service.

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has no further records of this chapel, due to its forming part of the Newport Pagnell Circuit. The service does have two editions of a book called The History of Our District, the first, of 1931 states that the chapel was still in use for public worship but the second edition, of 1960, states that it had been closed at some point in the past. As the modern photograph below shows the building is now disused.

The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in April 2007
The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in April 2007