Protestant nonconformity in Gaddesby

Gaddesby is a village in Leicestershire, located north east of Leicester.

The earliest meeting house recorded was established in 1724, in the home of a dissenter, with two more following in 1799 and 1833. However, the sources do not specify who met in these houses, merely noting that their denomination was ‘Protestant Dissenter’.[1]

By the 19th century, both Wesleyan Methodists and Primitive Methodists worshipped in the village.

Wesleyan Methodist

The earliest record that specifically mentions Wesleyan Methodism is the religious census of 1829, which counted them at twenty.[2] Wesleyan Methodists erected their first purpose-built chapel in 1837.[3] This chapel, after it was enlarged in 1848, had 68 free sittings, as well as 69 ‘other’ seats. The size of the congregation on 30 March 1851 was recorded at 66 for the afternoon service and e80 for the evening service, with average figures recorded at 75 and 80 respectively.

There is no evidence of a Sunday School at that time.[4]

The chapel was renovated in 1891. Among the renovations included a full re-varnishing of the pews, a re-painting of the walls and a tinting of the ceiling in sky-blue.[5]

In 1905 the Grantham Journal noted the death of a preacher, Mr William Cox, who was ‘the centre of the village Methodist life’. He had preached in the village for sixty-six years, his career having begun in 1839.[7]

The chapel erected in 1837 no longer stands. It is said to have been demolished in 1966, although no sources have been found to confirm this.

 

Primitive Methodists

The religious census of 1851 recorded a Primitive Methodist meeting house with the year of build noted as ‘before 1800’. It could seat fifty worshippers, was not a separate building and nor was it used exclusively for worship. It could well have been one of the meeting houses noted above, but, curiously, although the village made a return to the 1829 census of meeting houses, Primitive Methodists were not mentioned. Their numbers in 1851 were small: twenty worshippers were present at a morning service held on the day of the census. However, on the census notes, the word ‘evening’ is mentioned, by itself, which could indicate that the timing of sermons varied. As with the Wesleyan Methodists, there was no Sunday School.[8]

Church Army

In 1904 the Grantham Journal noted the use of Church Army Van, this being ‘the centre of an evangelistic and colportage mission in this village’.[6]

 

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[1]ROLLR, QS 44/1/1, rot. 3.

[2] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/45.

[3] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1846), p. 436.

[4] TNA, HO 129/418/6.

[5]Grantham Journal 12th September 1891, ‘Chapel Renovations’, p. 8.

[6]Ibid., 30th July 1904, ‘The Army Van’, p.8

[7]Ibid., 24th June 1905, ‘The Late Mr William Cox’.

[8] TNA, HO 129/418/7.