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Primitive Methodists in Sheep Lane

In the period November 1849 to January 1850 a dwellinghouse and premises in the occupation of Thomas Green in Sheep Lane were registered with the Archdeaconry of Bedford by William Wigley of Aylesbury [Buckinghamshire] [ABN1/2, ABN2/423].

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 Primitive Methodist chapel was made by the steward, labourer Thomas Green of Sheep Lane. It is not described as a chapel and so the meeting was probably still held at Thomas Green’s cottage. There were seats for fifty and the congregation that evening was sixty – standing room only!

This Primitive Methodist meeting in Sheep Lane first appears on the Leighton Buzzard Primitive Methodist Circuit plan in 1855. No Primitive chapel ever seems to have been built, presumably because the Union chapel and Wesleyan Methodist chapel, along with Saint John’s Anglican church-school took the great majority of available worshippers. It is not known when the meeting at Thomas Green’s cottage closed or whether another cottage replaced it. The station account book for the circuit [MB213] mentions Sheep lane in 1856 but there is then a gap until 1862 by which time the meeting is no longer mentioned.