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Primitive Methodism in Wyboston

Wyboston Methodist Chapel in 1995, taken by Edwin Welch [Z49/1004]
Wyboston Methodist Chapel in 1995, taken by Edwin Welch [Z49/1004]

The first mention of Methodism in Wyboston comes in 1798 when Richard Fisher, Francis West and Samuel Bennett registered Richard Fisher's house for worship with the Archdeaconry [ABN2].

In 1864 the Primitive Methodist Quarterly Meeting for Saint Neots recorded [MB1224] that they were trying to find land to build a chapel in Chawston. Nothing came of this so on 2nd March 1867 they recorded: "That we purchase the property at Wyboston for a new chapel and that application be made at once to the Building Committee as a place of worship is much needed there". On 14th December it was minuted: "That we empower the preachers to treat with Mr. Emery of Northampton for to purchase certain properties at Wyboston for chapel purposes at the sum of £120" and "That we nominate the following persons as Trustees for the contemplated chapel at Wyboston: James Bailey; Isaac Pitts; W. Webb; P. Peck; Christopher Brittain; R. Lazenby; T. Brownhill and that they meet in the chapel at Eynesbury".

The chapel is noted in an account book beginning in 1869 [MB1212]. Sadly Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service only has a few records on the chapel, which was part of the Saint Neots Primitive Methodist Circuit.

The trustees in 1899 were the same as in 1867 [MB1212]; their fuller details are as follows:

  • James Bailey of Honeydon, farmer;
  • Christopher Brittain of Wyboston, marker gardener;
  • Thomas Brownhill of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire], labourer;
  • Richard Lazenby of Saint Neots, insurance agent;
  • Peter Peck of Strixton [Northamptonshire], labourer;
  • Isaac Pitts of Chawston, tea dealer;
  • William Webb of Vauxhall Square, Birmingham [Warwickshire], blacksmith.

In 1909 new trustees were appointed to make up numbers [MB1213], they were: Albert Edward Smith; Frank Edgar Brightman; George Brittain and George Bailey.

In 1903 estimates were obtained from Eaton Socon builder and undertaker, house painter and decorator F. Wellham for work on the chapel [MB1215]. The specification gives an idea of what the chapel contained [MB1216]. The ceiling was cracked and was to be whitewashed, partially to cover these cracks. The walls were also to be cleaned and the cracks painted over with "Hall's Patent Washable Distemper, any shade as approved of". The windows were to be made to open and shut properly. All the match boarding around the chapel inside walls was to be restained and the pulpit varnished. Work was undertaken providing backs and ends for some of the rows of seats.

Exterior work included digging down to the foundations in the south-east corner and driving in eight piles and then adding fifteen inches of concrete. A brick pier was built each side going up five courses from the ground, all to prevent subsidence. The slates on the roof were to be repaired and the drains cleared out. The windows were to be repointed. The door was to be repainted in buff and oak grain and varnished. The iron fence at the front was to be repaired. The coal house was also to be repaired and the copper (for heating) rebuilt. The exterior w. c. was to have a new floor and skirting boards and a new door. Finally, a boundary fence was to be erected at the rear of the chapel.

In 1932 the Primitive Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists and United Methodists came together to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The chapel closed in 1991 and was demolished in 2006 to make room for new private housing. It stood just south of 55 High Street.