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The Methodist Chapel


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Primitive Methodist Chapel, Wolterton Road c.1990
Commemorative tablets laid in 1907

15th July 2006


The top tablet is inscribed: Laid by P.C. Fisher Esq 1907
The left tablet appears to be inscribed: Laid in memory of Mr. & Mrs. Williams SEN 1907
The right tablet is inscribed: Laid in memory of Mr. W. Wells 1907

Primitive Methodism had reached Norfolk by 1820 and the chapel was built in 1846 and enlarged in 1907 when the wall tablets were laid. Later, the chapel went into private ownership and became a holiday let.

According to the 1851 religious census returns, on the 30th March 1851, Robert Williams, the steward of the Primitive Methodist Chapel reported a congregation of 49 in the afternoon and 38 in the evening. Whereas the Wesleyan Methodist chapel on the Common claimed 46 in the afternoon and 50 in the evening and St Mary's a further 47 in the afternoon (including 21 Sunday School scholars) and 65 in the evening (including 25 Sunday School scholars). All this was from a total population of 329 and included those that went more than once.

By the early 1960s the congregation exceeded that of St. Mary's church. This was partly due to many villagers' antagonism towards the rector Revd. Summers.

When the 'new' Positif organ was installed in St. Mary's church the older 'American organ' was lent to the chapel. When the chapel closed the organ was duly returned and can be seen there to this day.

One service a week! I had to go to three on Sunday!
Sunday School at 10 o'clock, half past two and half past six.
Ruth Harrison


But they were very strict on religion. We used to sit at the table, with a slate pencil on a Sunday and write... we weren't allowed to be rowdy... And my mother used to watch and when my grandfather came over the bridge to go to chapel, she'd say "Come on, find up all the pencils and slates." We weren't allowed to have them around either.
Ruth Harrison


When we had a [chapel] outing... we weren't allowed to mix. The Wesleyans went to Cromer and the Methodists went to Sheringham.
Ruth Harrison


One old chap... his name was Hazlewood, he used to walk from Baconsthorpe and he used to get so excited that he used to bang on the pulpit and frighten us so we just had to sit very still...
Ruth Harrison


Broughton, that was my mother's father... Josh Broughton. He used to go round preaching with his umbrella rolled up, he used to walk everywhere... There used to be one old man walked from Sheringham, Mr. Bligh and he used to sit and have his dinner on the road, up the Wolterton Road, just past the chapel. We used to watch him.
Ruth Harrison


When the Coronation was, George the fifth, we all went to tea down on the park, Wolterton Park, near the old ruined church and we had forms to sit on and trestle tables. We had a real feed down there and I wasn't very big but I was such a fidget that during the course of the tea, I fell off the seat into a cow pat... My mother had to take off her petticoat to wipe me so, you know they used to wear two or three petticoats then and she cleaned me up cause she wouldn't bring me home then so I had to stay there in a smelly dress.
Ruth Harrison



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