Chapter Six - Our Friends Down the Road: Cardington Methodist Chapel

Methodist Chapel

Now just a paragraph about the history of the Methodist Chapel. Although the Methodist chapel closed in 1984 it was over 160 years old. It began with a man called Thomas Row who was born in 1789. He lived in Cople and became a follower of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism (see appendix), but at that time there was not a chapel in the vicinity. Thomas wished to set up a chapel and had a site in mind in Cardington, and when he aquired the money, he purchased a piece of land, one and a half perches, from Mr Henry William Whitbread for 6 15s. The chapel was 30ft x 21ft with a gallery upstairs seating 60 and a harmonium. The chapel itself seated 55, and until 1960 Pew Rents were charged. The chapel was opened on 7th April 1823 and was registered as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. In 1872 the Sunday School had 23 teachers and 111 scholars quite a high number for a small village and at this time the Sunday School had its own library until 1920 when the books were given away. Methodist Chapel interior The Band of Hope met in the schoolroom and membership reached 100 until World War One affected this. Over the years the scholars were treated to summer outings to Mox Hill or Bow Brickhill Woods and at Christmas the scholars went to a house in Harpur Street, Bedford to play games such as Ludo, Dominoes and Charades. The Methodist Chapel employed some strange preachers over the years: one always wore check trousers, one had only one eye and one was so short he had to stand on a stool. 1923 was the centenary year of the Methodist Chapel and the service to mark this was led by Rev W.A. Sidney C Secome from the Church of England which was very unusual in those days. The congregation ranged from 28 in 1884 to 46 in 1923 to 27 in 1927 and in 1937 the name was changed from Wesleyan Methodist to Cardington Methodist Chapel.

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