Protestant nonconformity in Breedon on the Hill

Breedon on the Hill is in north-west Leicestershire, five miles north of Ashby de la Zouch and on the Derbyshire border.

Two Protestant nonconformists were noted in 1676, but the main form of dissent in the parish at that date appears to have been Roman Catholicism[1]. No dissenters were noted in 1706, although some attended the parish church infrequently. It was said they sometimes attended the Presbyterian meeting, but no information was given as to where that was held; it does not appear to have been in Breedon. In 1709, the licensed curate recorded just two dissenters.[2]

General Baptists

In 1829, 50 General Baptists were said to meet in a house in Breedon.[3]

Primitive Methodists

There were 15 Primitive Methodists meeting in a house in Breedon in 1829.[4]

Wesleyan Methodists

The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel in Breedon in 1829, attended by 60 people.[5] Two Wesleyan Methodists chapels are recorded in the parish in 1851, probably one in Breedon itself and the other in another township in the parish. The larger was built in 1800, had 90 free seats and 56 others, and on Sunday 30 March was attended by 75 people in the afternoon and 60 in the evening.[6] The other was built in 1825, had 48 free and 45 other seats, and had just a single morning service, attended by 20 people.[7] Neither chapel had a Sunday school attached. The smaller of the chapels listed in the 1851 census may have been in Tonge, for which there was no separate return. Directories add to the confusion, with White’s 1846 directory saying the Wesleyan chapel in Breedon had been build about 40 years previously,[8] while the same publisher’s directory of 1863 records a date of 1828.[9] Either entry could be referring to Breedon itself, or its chapelries of Tonge or Wilson, which also had Wesleyan chapels.

Wesleyan Reformed Church

By 1851 there was also a Wesleyan Reformed meeting in Breedon on alternate Sunday nights, in the house of a member of the congregation. The evening service on 30 March 1851 was attended by 60 people, which was the full capacity of the building, including 10 standing.[10] They built their own chapel in the parish in 1858.[11]

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[1]A. Whiteman, The Compton Census of 1676: A Critical Edition (London, 1986), p. 329

[2] J. Broad (ed.), Bishop Wake’s Summary of Visitation Returns from the Diocese of Lincoln, 1706-1715 (Oxford, 2012), II, p. 732

[3] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/67

[4] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/67

[5] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/67

[6] TNA, HO 129/444/1/20

[7] TNA, HO 129/444/1/23

[8]W. White, Hist., Gaz. and Dir. of Leics. and Rutland (Sheffield, 1846), 329

[9]W. White, Hist., Gaz. and Dir. of Leics. and Rutland (Sheffield, 1863), 472

[10] TNA, HO 129/444/1/21

[11]W. White, Hist., Gaz. and Dir. of Leics. and Rutland (Sheffield, 1863), 472