Thringstone Methodist Church
Loughborough Road Methodist Church, 1963
(The house to the left was Hextall's Farm)
As can be seen from the photograph below, little has changed to the frontage of the chapel more than forty years on.
Like many other English towns and villages, Thringstone once had two Methodist Societies, each with its own chapel. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel stood on Main Street and is now a fitness centre. The Primitive Methodist chapel stood almost opposite, on Loughborough Road, and is now known as Thringstone Methodist Church. The two Societies, Wesleyan and Primitive, united nationally in 1932, after which time the chapels at Thringstone became known respectively as the Main Street and Loughborough Road Methodist Churches. The two finally amalgamated in about 1964, at which time the Main Street property was sold off for industrial use
This barn on the corner of John Hensons Lane is reputed to have been used as a Methodist meeting house during the 1850s
(Photo by Steve Badcock, July 2000)
A small society of Primitive Methodists (or 'Ranters', as they were then popularly termed) was formed probably about 1858 and first held services in a barn at the corner of John Henson's Lane.
After a time, better accommodation was secured at a farmhouse in John Carter's field, off Loughborough Road. Subsequently, the Society transferred to a cottage on Brook Lane which occupied part of the ground later owned as trust property. There were four cottages on this ground, apparently used at one stage as stables to the old Manor House.
The Society was under the jurisdiction of the Vicarage Street Chapel, Whitwick, from 1861 to 1890. In 1862, it was felt that the time was ripe for providing an appropriate chapel building and one hundred square yards of land was purchased from Mr Henson of Whitwick at the price of £12.10.0 , on which a deposit of 50/- was paid.
Above: Interior of the Loughborough Road Chapel as it appeared in 1963. (Taken from Centenary Souvenir). Note the stove within a cylindrical guard. The organ was acquired from a disused Methodist Chapel at a cost of £380, early in the twentieth century.
On November 6th 1862, Mr Hextall's estimate of £99.15.0 for building the chapel was accepted and the foundation stone was laid on November 17th. Mr Hextall clearly believed in getting on with the job, the opening ceremony taking place three months later, in February 1863. Mr Hextall's bill was paid in three instalments, many loans being accepted from friends and Circuit Ministers, on which 5% interest was paid. These loans proved to be a great liability to the Trustees, and it was more than fifty years before they were all paid off.
The pulpit, pews, door, ventilator, and other items were acquired from Mr Benning, acting on behalf of the Ashby Church, the cost being £20, and a further cost of £5.00 for gas fittings.
The first Trustees of the new chapel are recorded as having been: Thomas West, John Ward and Thomas Whitmore, all of Whitwick; William Hall, Andrew Hall, Thomas King, Jacob Webster, Samuel Poxon, Hosea Haywood, Edward Capewell, Thomas Hale and William Winfield, all of Thringstone; and Hezekiah Sear of Swannington
A peculiar feature of the early years was pew-letting, though they brought in only 10/- or 20/- each year. When the Sunday School was formed in 1866, the first year they had to pay £2 for the "hire of the chapel". This was later reduced to 30/- per year and operated until 1922 when it was abolished altogether.
An interesting account is featured in the 1884 minutes, which refers to "William Hall's Postage, Stationery and Tollgates". This seems to suggest that he had to pay Tollgate charges when on chapel business. The Tollgate stood at Thringstone cross-roads.
In the early 1920s, a piece of land adjoining the chapel was purchased for £70. During the 1940s, a further 2,264 square yards of land was purchased for £300, giving a total of approximately 3,000 square yards.
This land later proved an asset to the church, affording ample space for a church hall and also a means of funding the same object when some of the land was re-sold.
In about 1948, a Nissen hut was purchased from a Mr F.R.Coombes of Ravenstone and re-erected near the Chapel for use as a hall. Eight chapel members helped convey the hut on a lorry and once reassembled, a brick back and front was built by Mr Eric Lakin. The hut was made of zinc and a stage was provided at one end.(DW)
The hut remained for the best part of thirty years until in 1975, a new hall was built at the rear of the chapel, linked by an enclosed corridor. The cost was £12,000, and this was raised in various ways. More than £4,000 was raised by dances and sponsored walks and the collection of waste paper. A further £4,000 came from the sale of land and the rest came as a grant from the Methodist Connection.(CT;01.08.75)
Main Source :
"Loughborough Road Methodist Church, Thringstone: (1863-1963): Centenary Souvenir" (Booklet by JW Brotherhood, copy held by Leicester Record Office)
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Can you help ?: We have no old photographs of the Main Street Wesleyan Chapel - an interior view would be a real treasure !
Above: Foundation Stone of Thringstone Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Main Street - now the Chapel Fitness Centre (1872)
(Photo by Steve Badcock, 2003)