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Methodists in Eversholt

The Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Eversholt was on the south side of Wits End, about half way along the road. Before this chapel was built, however, there may have been two impermanent meeting places. On 22nd October 1822 the barn in occupation of James Large, cordwainer, at Brook End was registered by Large himself, W Millard and John Robarts [ABN2/199; ABN3/3, 45]. The sect nonconformists meeting at the location is not specified.

In April 1827 the house of Richard Broughton in occupation of John Roberts was registered by both men, both styled “of Ridgmont” [ABN1/2; ABN2/234; ABN3/3, 77]. This, again, may have been a Wesleyan meeting as the form was printed by T Cordeux of London who is known to have printed Wesleyan stationary. If so then this is evidence that the 1822 registration, which included John Robarts, is probably also Wesleyan.

On the last Sunday in March 1851 a mandatory ecclesiastical census was held throughout the kingdom. Jabez Smith of 1 Priory Terrace, Bedford, the local preacher, reported that the chapel had been built in 1849. It had 120 free seats and 80 others. The general congregation had been 128 in the afternoon and 157 in the evening. Sunday scholars had been 48 in the afternoon and 15 in the evening. Evening. The average for the preceding twelve months was 120 and 150 general congregation and 50 and 20 Sunday scholars at each service.

On 11th February 1854 the Wesleyan Methodist chapel was registered by William Henry Clarkson of 4 Harpur Street, Bedford, superintendent minister [MB2/EVR/6/1800]. The registration was cancelled on 9th January 1880 but the chapel continued.

Until 1875 Eversholt formed part of the Bedford and Ampthill Circuit. It then moved into the Ampthill Circuit in 1971, which became the Bedford South and Ampthill circuit in that year. In 1932 the United, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists came together to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

The chapel closed in 1972 and Bedfordshire Archive and Record Service has correspondence from 1972 to 1979 regarding the sale of the property [MB2/EVR/6/1518 and 1801].