The Story From 1865 to the Present.

The Story From 1865 to the Present.

 

SHORT HISTORY OF OUR METHODIST CHAPEL AT CHICKERELL

 

Amongst the first records found of the Chapel is a Minute Book dating from May 1865 when the following was recorded:

 

Committee meeting held at Weymouth 22nd May 1865

Present: Rev Jas Ray, Messrs Church, Sherren, Lowman, Hobbs and Vellacott.

 

Resolved:     

That a piece of land in the barton at Chickerell belonging to Jn Fox Esq be secured at a cost of not more than £50.

That Mr Thos Lowman be the Treasurer of the Building Fund.

That Mr Wm Vellacott be Secretary.

That the following persons be the Trustees of the Property bought or erected at West Chickerell, viz:

 

Thomas Lowman of Chickerell, 

William Vellacott of Chickerell,

James Sherren of Weymouth,     

Robert Monk Church of Weymouth,

Gen Andrews Ayles of Weymouth, 

John Otter of Broadwey,

Richard Rolls Jnr of Weymouth, 

Josh George of Weymouth,

John Masters of Weymouth, 

Wm Smith Jnr of Weymouth,

William Dibbins of Weymouth, 

Stephen Hobbs of Weymouth,

Thos Scattergood of Weymouth,

Chas Wallis of Chickerell,

Richard Hallett of Radipole 

George Morris of Radipole

 

That Mr Lowman be deputed to secure the land.

That Mr Church obtain from Mr Crickmay a ground plan and elevation of the Chapel to seat 175 persons.

That the next meeting of Committee be called as soon as plans are ready.

 

We know that the land was purchased from John Fox from a Memorandum held in the Circuit Safe which records the transaction on 19th June 1865.  This land was just enough for the church building itself.  The vestry, toilet and upper room were added at a later date.

 

From a Trustee Meeting minute of 19th June 1865 we find "the cost of erection not to exceed £200."  It appears the funding was to be by voluntary donation and some members agreed to raise £5 each towards it.

 

On 28th June 1865 it is recorded that the foundation stone was laid by Mr Baggett assisted by Mrs Vellacott.  Several donations were presented including one from John Boyds Esq of Fleet House with a note reading as follows:-

    

 

 

Fleet House

    June 27 1865

Dear Sir

In riding through Chickerell this morning I saw that there is a Wesleyan Chapel to be built.  Will you be so good if you attend the laying of the foundation stone as to say that my five pounds is at your service for it, as I see so much good done by the Wesleyan Ministers.

                I am 

                    John Boyds

 

Addresses were delivered by the Rev Jas Peall, G E Pilkinghorne, Messrs Baggett, Sherren, Bolts, Hobbs and other friends to about 400 persons, 340 of whom had previously partaken of tea in Barrow Field.

 

In October 1865 an application was made by Joseph B West, Minister to the Registrar General of Births Deaths and Marriages in England to use the building as a Place of Meeting for Religious Worship by a Congregation or Assembly of persons calling themselves Wesleyan Methodists.

 

Unfortunately, the anticipated contributions did not cover the cost of the work and on 23rd March 1866 a Trustee Meeting minute records

 

"Messrs Lowman and Ellacott advised to apply to Banker for loan and to pay tradesmens bills as soon as possible."

 

An account of the receipts and expenditure in respect of the New Chapel was produced at a meeting on 3rd May 1866 giving the figures:-

 

    Total receipts        £214.     14.     3½

    Expenditure        £351.    18.    11

    Balance        £137.    4.    7½  undersubscribed

 

It seems that, even in the middle of the 19th century escalating costs and unexpected expenditure made the project difficult to finance.  Unfortunately the Minute Book stops at that point and we can only assume, as the building is still here, that all the debts were met.

 

In the photo pages on this website you can see the photo of the original poster advertising the laying of the foundation stone. It was a grand occasion when many people gathered in North Square for the ceremony and service. 

 

The vestry and upper room were added following the purchase of the necessary land from William Tucker of West Lulworth in September 1895.  A linen sketch of the proposed elevation of the Vestry Rooms is held in the Circuit Safe showing the vestry as it now is with two small windows on the first floor and a larger window and door on the ground floor on the north side.

 

The sketch is endorsed:

 

I approve of this plan and allow the windows and door openings to be built and carried out as shown instead of in the manner provided in the Deed of Conveyance of the piece of land from me to the Trustees of the Chapel dated this fourteenth day of March 1896.

 

Signed    W Tucker

 

At that time the Trustees were: 

 

    John Otter of Broadwey (Builder)

    Joseph George of Weymouth (Confectioner)

    John Masters of Weymouth (Corn Merchant)

    William Dibbin of Weymouth (Gentleman)

    Stephen Hobbs of Abingdon  (Manager of the Temperance Hotel) and

    George Morris of Roke Manor, Romsey (Gardener)

 

In April 1911 a certificate was issued by the Superintendent Registrar confirming the registration of the Chapel for the Solemnization of Marriages.

 

In 1959 various plans were drawn up to extend and improve the vestry and toilets at the back of the church building and in May 1961 land was purchased from Jane Raishley of Enfield described as "...all that piece or parcel of land situate at Chickerell in the County of Dorset with the dwellinghouse yard and workshops thereon situate and known as Number 1 North Square Chickerell ..."  The Reverend Charles Edgar Deakin was the Superintendent Minister at that time and the Trustees were:-

 

Charles Joseph Green of Chickerell (Insurance Agent)

Kenneth Henry George Dunford of Chickerell (Wheelwright)

Evelyn Maud Dunford (his wife)

Stanley John Gundry of Upwey (Watchmaker)

William James Squibb of Weymouth (Printer)

Henry George Woodward of Chickerell

Ronald Charles Green of Chickerell (Haulier)

Vera May Green (his wife)

Victor William Greenslade Wallace-Warby of Dorchester (Clerk)

Dorothy May Wallace-Warby (his wife)

Rosaline Mary Pope of St Helens, Lancs

Louisa Harriett Bartlett of Chickerell

Edna May Richards of Chickerell

Mabel Kathleen May Peach of Langton Herring

William Frederick Martin of Weymouth (Tailor)

Charles Thomas Evan Priddle of Wyke Regis (Insurance Agent)

Edwin Charles Oldridge of Chickerell (Confectioner)

Charles Henry Godden of Weymouth

Thomas Charles Bartlett of Portesham (Farmer) and

Lucy Harriett Martha Bartlett (his wife)

 

The land purchased gave vehicular access to the rear of the chapel building and the provided limited parking facilities.  The outbuildings mentioned were almost derelict but were useful for storing spare furniture, tables, etc.  (In 2000 an elderly man visiting the area came into the yard stating that he remembered working in part of the old barns when it was a carpenters shop).

 

By a Conveyance dated 8th August 1967 made between the Trustees (except Stanley John Gundry and William James Squibb then deceased) and Kenneth Henry George Dunford "... the piece of land with the cottage and outbuilding immediately at the rear thereof known as No 2 North Square, Chickerell ..." was sold. It is understood that repairs were required to the church and vestry building and this was a means of raising the necessary finance.

 

The only tea-making and washing-up facilities available were a sink and draining board under the stairs with a boiler to provide hot water.  The crockery was stored in the cupboards upstairs and brought down in baskets every time it was needed.

 

There were pews in the vestry for the Sunday School and an organ to provide music for the children to sing.  The Sunday School was divided into classes and these were held in the upstairs room, Chapel and school room.  The Sunday School parties were held in the upstairs room and the food set out in the school room.  

 

The ladies’ Sisterhood outgrew the size and facilities available at the Methodist Chapel in the earlier times and for many years met at the Congregational Hall in East Street.

 

The Church Anniversary Service is held in May each year and for many years was followed by tea and a special service on the following day.  As the vestry was so small it was necessary to turn the pews around and erect trestle tables in the Chapel to accommodate all those who attended the tea.  

 

It became increasingly apparent that more space was needed and in 1989 the present hall, kitchen and toilet extension was added which entailed demolishing the outbuildings and providing a hard surfaced car parking area.

 

The foundation stone of the new part of the building was laid in November 1988 by Mr Charles Oldridge and on 13th July 1989 the building was opened by Mrs Phyllis Oldridge following a service of dedication taken by Rev Nigel Collinson from Southampton and Rev Brian Hunt.

* * * * * *

 

In the latter part of the 1990’s, following inspection, it was found that the support joists of the floor of the main church were rotten beyond repair and the front wall was causing concern.  Cracks in the wall which show in various old photographs had obviously been rendered over and the need for complete demolition and rebuilding of the front wall was now apparent.  The present Trustees therefore decided to embark on a project for the Millennium to renovate the front of the Church in keeping with the original building of 1865 with the windows and door outlined with yellow bricks and the low wall and railings at the roadside reinstated.  

        

The stone to commemorate the renovation work was laid by Mr Frank Shereston, a life long member of the Chapel and its oldest member and the opening ceremony was held on August 1999.  When the work was nearing completion a Time Capsule was buried by the Junior Church members. ( see Old Chapel Photos page)

 

 

The newly refurbished chapel provided a very attractive entrance to North Square and comments were heard that many, even local village folk, had thought the Chapel was closed but it was now obviously very much open.

 

The foundation stone of the new part of the building was laid in November 1988 by Mr Charles Oldridge and on 13th July 1989 the building was opened by Mrs Phyllis Oldridge following a service of dedication taken by Rev Nigel Collinson from Southampton and Rev Brian Hunt

 

* * * * * *

 

In the latter part of the 1990’s, following inspection, it was found that the support joists of the floor of the main church were rotten beyond repair and the front wall was causing concern.  Cracks in the wall which show in various old photographs had obviously been rendered over and the need for complete demolition and rebuilding of the front wall was now apparent.  The present Trustees therefore decided to embark on a project for the Millennium to renovate the front of the Church in keeping with the original building of 1865 with the windows and door outlined with yellow bricks and the low wall and railings at the roadside reinstated.  

        

The stone to commemorate the renovation work was laid by Mr Frank Shereston, a life long member of the Chapel and its oldest member and the opening ceremony was held on August 1999.  When the work was nearing completion a Time Capsule was buried by the Junior Church members.

 

The newly refurbished chapel provided a very attractive entrance to North Square and comments were heard that many, even local village folk, had thought the Chapel was closed but it was now obviously very much open.

 

In 2015 the chapel celebrated its 150th anniversary with various activities. You can read about these on this website and see the photos via the tab and pages for the 150th anniversary. 

 

Our Minister is Rev J Quick (01305) 783049.

 

Services are held every Sunday morning at 10.30 a.m. followed by a cup of coffee and fellowship with friends in the congregation.

 

 

 

A warm welcome is extended to YOU

to join us at

Chickerell Methodist Church