The Closure of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

The Wesleyan Chapel, North End, 1920s
Bell's Postcard supplied by Ann Handscombe

The following report appeared in the Royston Crow dated 9th October 1970.

An End and a Beginning at Meldreth

Harvest Festival Services at Meldreth’s Wesleyan Methodist Church were tinged with real sadness as they were the last to be held in the century–old church.  From being a prosperous church with full congregation and a Sunday School which was noted for its special occasions, it has dwindled over the years to just a handful of people and no Sunday School.

These few people have been struggling against the odds until finally they were beaten, and it was decided they should amalgamate with Whaddon, this to be the mother church.

The Rev. D. Thornton Smith conducted this last service and took his text “O Give thanks unto the Lord.”  He went on to speak of thanks not only for the Harvest, but for all the Church had meant over the past years and to look forward, hopefully, to a united family in the Whaddon Church.

Wesley Associations

Speaking of the early days of the Wesleyan Methodists in Meldreth, the Rev. Thornton Smith spoke of John Wesley’s association with Meldreth and Melbourn.  He told of letters in the records at Wesley House, Cambridge which spoke of meetings at Meldreth and at one of these which took place in a field, it told of John Wesley preaching to over 4,000 people.

As Meldreth then had a population of about 600 people, they must have come from many villages round about.  An elderly resident of Meldreth also remembered that in her early childhood, her grandfather, then in his 80’s, and an ardent Wesleyan, spoke of services held by John Wesley in what he called “Stockbridge’s Barn” at Melbourn.

It is learned that the first Wesleyan Methodist services in Meldreth were held in a room at Vine House, owned by the Humphrey Course family.  When congregations got too large for the accommodation, Mr. Course, the grandfather of the family, now living there, offered a piece of land on the opposite side of the road.  Funds were raised and the Methodist Church came into being.

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