Protestant Nonconformity in East Norton

East Norton is a village in East Leicestershire, about five miles from the town of Billesdon.

There is little evidence of early nonconformity in the village. No illegal religious meetings were noted in 1669,[1] and only one nonconformist was mentioned in the Compton Census of 1676.[2] The village was a chapelry of Tugby parish, and vicar Thomas Robinson reported no nonconformists at the visitations of 1706, 1709 and 1712.[3] A meeting place was established at the home of a dissenter in 1719, although the denomination is not recorded.[4]

Records are clearer for the 19th century, when the only nonconformist denomination with a recorded presence in the village is Wesleyan Methodism.

Wesleyan Methodism

The earliest source to record Wesleyan Methodists is the 1851 Religious Census. This noted the presence of a chapel built in 1830, with 60 sittings, all of them free. On census day, a congregation of 45 was recorded for one service, held in the evening. Average figures were not given, and there is no evidence of a Sunday School.[5]

After 1851, the only other information of Wesleyan Methodists is of a chapel built in 1855, described in 1863 as ‘small’.[6] No other records have yet been identified. The building is still standing in 2015, although no longer in use as a chapel.



[1] R.H. Evans, ‘Nonconformists in Leicestershire in 1669’, Trans LAHS, 25 (1949), p. 139

[2] A. Whiteman, The Compton Census of 1676: A Critical Edition (London, 1986), p. 338

[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), p. 833

[4] Leicestershire and Rutland County Record Office (ROLLR), list of religious meeting places in Leicestershire, East Norton, QS 44/1/1, rot. 4v.

[5] 1851 Religious Census of England and Wales, entry for Wesleyan Methodists, East Norton, HO 129/410/11.

[6] White, Hist. Gaz. & Dir. Leics. (Sheffield, 1863) p. 615.

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