Protestant nonconformity in Scalford, 1730-1916

Scalford is a village in Leicestershire, near Melton Mowbray and about 20 miles north east of Leicester. The first record of a meeting house was in 1735, when a meeting place was established at the home of a dissenter, although there is no indication of the denomination.[1] Methodists arrived in the village around the second quarter of the 19th century, at which point they became the only denomination with a recorded presence in the village.

 

Wesleyan Methodism

The first record of Wesleyan Methodism was in a directory of Leicestershire in 1846, which noted that a chapel had been built in 1844 ‘in lieu of the old one’, which was converted into a parish school.[2] The 1851 Religious Census stated that the chapel could accommodate 180 sittings, of which only 80 were free. On census day, there were two services, held in the morning and evening; the congregation size was 50 and 180 respectively. Sunday School attendance was 30, for the morning only.[3] 

Later sources comment on the chapel and on the general expansion of Wesleyan Methodists in the village. A directory in 1855 noted that the chapel was ‘neat and commodious’.[4] A new Sunday School was built in 1874, at a cost of £130 which was raised by subscription; it could accommodate 100 children.[5] A directory in 1881 noted that there was a ‘numerous congregation’.[6]

 

Primitive Methodism

Primitive Methodists built a chapel in the village in 1835.[7] In 1851, it could accommodate 100 sittings, although only half of these were free. No information was given about the congregation size on the day of the census, but average figures are given at 40 for morning services and 70 for afternoon and evening services each. Average attendance at Sunday School was 30, for the morning only.[8]

In 1870, the chapel was replaced at a cost of £400, which was raised by subscription.[9] The build year is disputed by a directory in 1881, which put it at 1873. This source also described the chapel as a ‘handsome building’ with a ‘numerous congregation’.[10]



[1] Leicestershire and Rutland County Record Office (ROLLR), licences for religious meeting places, Scalford, QS 44/1/1, rot. 2v.

[2] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1846) p. 257.

[3] 1851 Religious Census, Scalford, Wesleyan Methodists, HO 129/418/78.

[4] PO Dir. Leics. (1855) p. 110.

[5] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1877) p. 587.

[6] Kelly’s Dir. (1881) p. 703.

[7] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1846) p. 257.

[8] 1851 Religious Census, Scalford, Primitive Methodists, HO 129/418/53.

[9] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1877) p. 587.

[10] Kelly’s Dir. (1881) p. 703.