History of Methodism in Barrow upon Soar

No record can be found stating where Methodism began in Barrow upon Soar, but tradition has it that a group of Methodists met in the house which is currently 10 Church Street.  Of course, we do not know how long this continued but, because it was difficult in the early 19th century to raise sufficient money for building number 10 had possibly been used for some time.  The earliest minute book found of the chapel at High Street (previously known as North Street) was from 1892 to 1922 and in the Annual Trustees meeting of 1920 it was resolved to commence a Centenary Fund.  This dates the Wesleyan Chapel to some time after 1822.  We can be a little more definite about the beginning of Primitive Methodism in Barrow upon Soar.

The first chapel was on the same site as our existing North Street Church (then called Town Street).   There was a farm yard barn owned by Mr Priestly which was converted into a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1820 -  by 1857, there were 31 members.

Early 1910, it was decided to build a new church.  The Trustees were offered a site at the top of Warner Street at a cost of 4d per yard.  There was plenty of room for the new church, Sunday School building and ground to spare for any future extensions.  However, the Church brethren were divided - the majority wanted to pull down the old barn on North Street - they won.

By this time the farm yard had been put to another use.  A public house, The Royal Oak had been built and a small caretaker's cottage.  Plans were drawn up and Messrs Faulks of Loughborough were awarded the contract for a new building at a cost of £900.  The Minister was Rev H Land, he was also the building inspector.

In 1911, the Church was completed and opened.  In the front part of the school room, there is a panel of bricks with initials and names; which remains today.  For initials to be displayed, it was 2/6 and 5/ for a full name.  Mrs Martha Darby collected 1d per week to pay for the bricks.  

William Litherland was Sunday School Superintendent for almost 30 years.  He was a factory worker in Sileby and started work at 6.00 am every day - before he went to work, he would often sweep two chimneys.  His payment would go as an extra on the collection plate the following Sunday.  His home was open to provide hospitality for the visiting preachers, both Ministers and Lay Preachers.

The Church and Sunday School were fortunate in that Mr T Hames of Pawdy Farm was one of the benefactors.  Sunday School treats took the form of an outing in Mr Hames' wagons up to his farm where there was an afternoon tea, followed by sports and games on the field.  

In 1968 the decision was made by the Methodist District that the two societies (North Street and High Street) should unite and all services to be held at North Street.  The main reason for this was because it was well known that the area of ground at the rear of the Royal Oak was due to be sold.  The extra space would be invaluable for future development.

As a symbol of unity, the cross which adorns the front end of the current Church building is made up from pews from the High Street chapel.  Other Church furniture was also made from the pews and parts of the Wesleyan Chapel.  

Some time later, the Royal Oak, which had been closed for some time was becoming dilapidated and dangerous.  The roof was dangerous - the estimate for fixing it was £750.  The Trustees could not afford it - however Mr George Clark, the Fishmonger next door offered that in exchange for the width of one small room of the Royal Oak, which adjoined his property, he would take responsibility for the complete demolition of the rest of the building.  

In 1974, it was decided that the hall needed replacing with a more robust building (a pre-fab), as well as new toilets and a kitchen.  The cost of this development was £12,000.  In 1982, the pre-fab was replaced by the current wooden Church hall, again a lot of the groundwork undertaken by Church members. 

As we move forward, we have recently embarked on our latest redevelopment, by developing the front end of the building and worship area, making it access for all and opening up for increased activities during the week for the Church and wider community.  See the Development page for updated progress.