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Wesleyan Methodists in Swineshead

The former Wesleyan Chapel in Swineshead High Street May 2008
The former Wesleyan Chapel in Swineshead High Street May 2008

The surviving Swineshead Methodist chapel records are held by Northamptonshire Record Office, because Swineshead formed part of the Wellingborough Wesleyan Circuit from 1814 to 1828, after which it was in the Higham Ferrars Circuit until it closed in 1969. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a list of the records held by Northamptonshire [CRT170/6/19] which is as follows, listed under accession number 1977/287:

  • 111: Trustees Minute Book 1936 to 1969;
  • 112: General correspondence 1939 to 1968; correspondence regarding chapel affairs 1960; Trustees minutes on disposal of the chapel 1970;
  • 113: Account Book 1940 to 1957;
  • 114: Northampton and County Trustee Savings Bank book regarding the church appeal fund: 1960

On Sunday 30th March 1851 a census of all churches, chapels and preaching-houses of every denomination was undertaken in England and Wales. The local results were published by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1975 as Volume 54, edited by D.W.Bushby. The return for the Wesleyan Methodists in Swineshead, then in Huntingdonshire, was made by Samuel Law "Steward". He noted that the meeting had opened in 1811 and contained seating for 80. Attendance had been 25 Sunday Scholars in the morning, 30 and 23 Sunday Scholars in the afternoon and a mixed congregation of 52 in the evening - grand totals of 25, 53 and 52.

This Wesleyan chapel was registered on 3rd March 1861 by Charles Edward Woolmer of Higham Ferrers [Northamptonshire], minister; this was cancelled on 31st December 1866. The old Wesleyan chapel in the village has a date stone of 1864 and this building was registered on 27th September 1865 by Josiah Jutsum of Higham Ferrers, minister. The registration was cancelled on 6th August 1970 following the sale of the premises.

A deed held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service [CCE5361/5] shows that the former chapel was purchased by Rachel Ursula Phipps of The Three Horseshoes in the village in 1970. She died in that same year and her executor, Michael James Mellows, died in 1974 at which point the former chapel was vested in Lady Periwinkle Elizabeth Conant.

Proposed ground floor plan
Proposed ground floor plan [BorB/TP/85/2045]

The final record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service dates to 1985 [BorB/TP/85/2045]. It is a plan and elevation accompanying a planning application by Loumark Homes Limited to convert the old chapel into a private house; the application notes that the then current permission was for a printing works and a flat.