A Short History of the Rothley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
There used to be two Methodist Chapels in Rothley, the Primitive Methodist on Mountsorrel Lane, now a private house, and the Wesleyan Methodist in Howe Lane which is the current place of worship for Methodists in Rothley.
John Wesley visited several villages in the area in the late 18th century and the first membership roll for Rothley was in 1813 with 13 people. This increased to 20 in 1822 and to 26 in 1823 when the Chapel in Howe Lane was built. At this time the Rothley Methodist Chapel was part of the Loughborough circuit but was transferred to the Leicester circuit in 1839.
The first members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1813 were the families of Langham, Mitchell, Woolaston, Smith, Johnson, Lewin, Brewin, Prior and Woodcock.
The land on which to build the chapel was obtained from Jonathan Leake, a Rothley farmer, in 1822. The Trustees of the Methodists at this time were Robert Jacques, a Mountsorrel needlemaker from Rothley, John Bunney, a grocer, John Wale and John Mitchell, both bakers, Simon Brewin, a hosier, Francis Bruxby and Richard Langham, both framework knitters, John Collins, a labourer and Thomas Collins, a shoemaker.
When a Trustee died they were replaced by other members of the fellowship.
In 1862, William Fletcher Mofs was the Superintendent Preacher of Rothley Wesleyan Methodists and members of the fellowship were George Bent, a baker, and his wife Sarah, John Toon and Jacob Shaw, both quarrymen, James Rodwell, a labourer, Phoebe Armstrong, Sarah Smith, Mary Bufsey, Mary Rodwell, Phillipa Preston, Jane Swan and Annie Armstrong.
In 1895 the Trustees were quarrymen John and James Chamberlain, Thomas Clarke from Rothley and other Trustees from Syston and Leicester.
The 19th century Account Books for the Rothley Wesleyan Methodists record some interesting information. Certain loyal families supported the chapel regularly over many years and their names are mentioned frequently:
Bent Swan Bishop Smith Baker Webster
Rodwell Reeve Toon Pagett Chamberlain
Cheatle Armstrong Shaw Hadfield Sutton Draycott
They all made generous contributions to the chapel.
As well as the Sunday services and Christian Festivals they held harvest celebrations, Good Friday teas and concerts and special services of song. The Wesleyans enjoyed singing the hymns of John and Charles Wesley, listening to sermons and Bible study.
Candles were used for the services until 1889 when oil lamps were installed outside. In 1892 oil lamps and fittings for the interior of the chapel cost 16/6d (83p).
The chapel organ is mentioned for the first time in 1897.
Finances were not easy as collections in the 1830's averaged £3.12.6d (£3.63p) and just £1 from the Sunday School. However, collections in the 1850's had increased to £4.4.8d (£4.24p).
Repairs to the stove in 1872 cost 2/6d (13p) and candles 1/- (5p) a pound. A considerable amount of money was spent on coal to heat the chapel.
In 1887 services were held at 2.30pm and 6.00pm in both the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist Chapels. Amalgamation of the two congregations took place in 1964 and the Wesleyan Chapel was used for worship and the Primitive Chapel for Sunday School and other activities. The Primitive Methodist Chapel finally closed in 1969.
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is a fine building in an attractive village setting.
To return to the Rothley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel please click on the following link: