Protestant nonconformity in Hathern

Hathern in is north Leicestershire, three miles north-west of the town of Loughborough.

Four nonconformists were recorded in 1676.[1]

Replying to his bishop in 1706, rector Andrew Glen advised that there were no dissenters in the parish ‘besides one Old Woman & her Son who are Anabaptists. There are 2 or 3 persons who go sometimes to the Presbyterian Meetings but come oftener to church’. There was no meeting house in the parish. Little had changed in 1709.[2]

General Baptist

A small congregation of 13 Baptists met in Hathern in 1829.[3] A General Baptist chapel is noted in White’s directory of 1846,[4] although the 1851 religious census states it was built in 1849. It is possible that an earlier chapel was rebuilt in the latter year. In 1851 it was said there were 112 free sittings and 24 other sittings. There were two services on Sunday 30 March, with 45 worshippers in the afternoon and 75 in the evening. There was also a Sunday school attended by 37 in the morning and 40 in the afternoon.[5] The chapel was rebuilt in 1880.[6]

Wesleyan Methodist

There were 60 Wesleyan Methodists meeting for worship in Hathern in 1829.[7] A Wesleyan chapel was built before 1800, and in 1851 was said to have had 98 free and 76 other sittings. There were 44 worshippers at the afternoon service on 30 March 1851, and 32 attended in the evening. There was also a Sunday school which met in the afternoon, and 44 Sunday scholars attended that day.[8]

Wesleyan Branch/Wesleyan Reform/New Connexion Methodists

A ‘Wesleyan Branch’ chapel submitted a return to the 1851 religious census. The building had 70 free sittings. Only those attending Sunday school on 30 March were counted: 36 were present that afternoon, and 56 in the evening.[9]  This was probably the same building as the Wesleyan Reform Chapel  noted in White’s directory of 1863.[10] It ceases to be mentioned in directories from the 1880s, when a listing starts to appears for New Connexion Methodists, who may have taken over the building used by the Wesleyan Reform chapel.[11]

Primitive Methodist

Although no chapel is noted in directories until the 1860s, the 1851 religious census records a Primitive Methodist chapel in Hathern, built in 1826, with 95 free and 17 other sittings.[12] In 1829 it had a congregation of 13 people.[13] On Sunday 30 March 1851 there were 45 people at the afternoon service, and 95 people attended that evening.[14] The congregation had recently purchased some land ‘to Erect a more Commodious Chapel to seat about a 100 and 80 to 200′.[15]

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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. Part 2, Outside Lincolnshire (Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire) (Oxford, 2012), 737

[3] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/72

[4] W. White, Hist. Gaz. and Dir. of Leics. (Sheffield, 1846), 344.

[5] TNA, HO 129/415/38

[6]Kelly’s Dir. Leics. (1895), 81

[7] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/72

[8] TNA, HO 129/415/39

[9] TNA, HO 129/415/39A

[10] W. White, Hist. Gaz. and Dir. of Leics. (Sheffield, 1863), 490

[11]Kelly’s Dir. Leics. (1881), 527.

[12] TNA, HO 129/415/37

[13] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/72

[14] TNA, HO 129/415/37

[15] TNA, HO 129/415/37