Protestant Nonconformity in Barkby and Barkbythorpe, 1829-1916

Barkby and the small hamlet of Barkbythorpe are situated 5 miles north-east of Leicester and 11 miles south-west of Melton Mowbray.




Primitive Methodists

There is no evidence for a congregation of Primitive Methodists in Barkby in the Meeting House Return of 1829.[1] However by the 1851 census of religious worship a small congregation was worshipping in a private dwelling house. There was no morning service held by the minister on Sunday 30 March 1851, but there was an afternoon service attended by 30 worshippers and an evening service attended by 40. No information was given in respect of Sunday school attendance, and there may not have been one.[2] A Primitive Methodist chapel had been built by 1863.[3] In 1881, it was described as small.[4]



Wesleyan Methodists

A Wesleyan chapel was built in the village in 1822,[5] and was exclusively used for worship and in 1829 the Meeting House return showed that there were 18 Wesleyan Methodists (12 men and 6 women) worshipping there, from Barkby and Barkbythorpe.[6] In 1851 the Wesleyan chapel was recorded as having only 50 seats (free). Two services were held on Sunday 30 March of that year, in the afternoon and evening which was attended by 30 and 70 worshippers respectively.[7]



The only evidence for nonconformity which has been found as part of this project is within the 1829 Meeting House Return mentioned above, which shows that 18 Wesleyan Methodists (12 men and 6 women) met for worship in ‘Barkby and Barkbythorpe’.[8] As there was already a chapel in Barkby, that is the most likely place of their meeting, but as both villages are named, it is possible that the congregation was drawn from both places.


[1] ROLLR,QS 95/2/1/35

[2] TNA, HO 129/416/81

[3] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1863), p. 596

[4] Kelly’s Dir. of Leics. (1881) p. 484

[5] TNA, HO 129/416/82

[6] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/35

[7] TNA, HO 129/416/82

[8] ROLLR, QS 95/2/1/35

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