Kirby Bellars is a village and parish in north-east Leicestershire, three miles west of Melton Mowbray. There is no mention of religious nonconformity there in the 1851 ecclesiastical census.
It is not referred to in directories of 1875 or 1877. Wright’s Directory of 1881 refers to a small wooden building used by the Independents, for whom a chapel was about to be built. The 1884 and 1888 Wright’s directories mention the Congregational chapel services every Sunday at 6 p.m. The 1908 Kelly’s Directory states that a small Congregational chapel was built in 1865 and restored in 1892 with 100 sittings. This information is repeated in later Kelly’s directories, for example 1912, 1916 and 1925. The existing building has a date stone with 1902 on it. It was a subsidiary of the Melton Mowbray chapel, and was half way along Main Street on the eastern side. It is shown and named on 20th century Ordnance Survey maps, but the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map of 1884 (revised 1903) shows a smaller unnamed building on the site. This may have been the original wooden chapel.
There is no mention of a Sunday School in the directories, but testimony of older residents speak of this as a very important element in the life of the village in the first half of the 20th century. In 1917 there were 4 teachers and 21 scholars there, according to the chapel minute book. In 1965 there were only 4 scholars and the school closed in 1967. The chapel itself closed a year later to become a private house, which is still there.
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More information about the history of Kirby Bellars
Trade Directories (1840s-1930s) and 1851 Ecclesiastical Census