Protestant nonconformity in Bottesford

Bottesford is situated on the northernmost tip of the county.

Early nonconformity

Nonconformity appears to have been slow to develop, as with many villages in the shadow of Belvoir Castle. There were no conventicles in the parish in 1669,[1] and no nonconformists were reported in 1676.[2] Nor were there any in 1706, although a single dissenter was noted in 1709, ‘a Scot’.[3]

No reply has been traced to the Leicestershire meeting house return of 1829.

Particular Baptist

A Particular Baptist chapel was ‘newly erected’ in 1789,[4] and registered for worship that year.[5] It could accommodate 113 worshippers in 42 free and 171 other sittings. On 30 March 1851, 54 people attended afternoon worship, and 47 attended in the evening. A Sunday school met in the afternoon and was attended by 29 people.[6]

Calvinist/Independent/Congregational

Thomas Pickering’s house was registered for Calvinist worship in 1807.[7] He may have been the Thomas Pickering who described himself as ‘manager’ of the Calvinist chapel in Bottesford in 1851.[8] The religious census of that year records a Calvinist congregation, who met in a small chapel built ‘before 1800’, with just 66 sittings. An average of 40 people attended morning and evening services.[9] This may be the ‘Independent chapel’ noted in 1846.[10]Only the Baptist, Wesleyan and primitive Methodist chapels were mentioned in a directory of 1877,[11] but a Congregational church was reported in 1881,[12] and a Calvinist one in 1908.[13] These may all be the same chapel, although it is not sure whether it was the same form of worship.

Wesleyan Methodist

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1845. Two services were held on 30 march 1851, with 45 attending in the afternoon and 39 worshippers present in the evening. The Sunday school met twice that day, with 20 present in the afternoon and 15 in the evening.[14]

Primitive Methodist

A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1820, for 300 worshippers, and 98 of those sittings were free. There were two services on 30 March 1851, attended by 168 people in the afternoon and 169 in the evening. A Sunday school assembled in the afternoon, with 73 scholars present. [15]

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[1] R.H. Evans, ‘Nonconformists in Leicestershire in 1669’, Trans LAHS, 25 (1949), 140

[2] A. Whiteman, The Compton Census of 1676: A Critical Edition (London, 1986), 339

[3] J. Broad (ed.), Bishop Wake’s summary of visitation returns from the diocese of Lincoln, 1706-1715. Part 2, Outside Lincolnshire (Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire) (Oxford, 2012), 752

[4] TNA, HO 129/427/44

[5] ROLLR, QS 44/1/2

[6] TNA, HO 129/427/44

[7] ROLLR, QS 44/1/2, QS 44/2/156

[8] TNA, HO 129/427/45

[9] TNA, HO 129/427/45

[10] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1846), p. 223

[11] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1877), p. 168

[12]Kelly’s Dir. Leics. (1881), p. 494

[13]Kelly’s Dir. Leics. (1908), p. 44

[14] TNA, HO 129/427/47

[15] TNA, HO 129/427/46