The Wesleyan Chapel

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Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on the Common December 2001

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1850.
After closure, the congregation moved to the Primitive Methodist Chapel on the Wolterton Road.

According to the 1851 religious census returns, on the 30th March 1851 (a year after it was built!) William Snelling, the steward of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel reported a congregation of 46 in the afternoon and 50 in the evening. Whereas the five year old Primitive Methodist chapel claimed 49 in the afternoon and 38 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.

In 1955 it was reported in the Eastern Daily Press that a service of dedication was held when a wall clock was presented to the chapel by Mr. Bertie Peart and Mr. Harold Peart in memory of their parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. George Peart, who gave the church their lifetimes' service. George Peart had been a gardener at Wolterton Hall before moving on to Blickling Hall. The dedication was performed by the Revd. A. W. Underwood, the circuit minister.

George Peart was my grandfather. He was a local preacher of some standing and toured the Cawston Circuit of Wesleyan chapels in Norfolk, which included the chapel on Itteringham Common. I must add that there was never any reference, in my time, to Wesleyan Methodist - it was always a chapel of the Wesleyan Reform Union.

The memorial clock was instituted by my father, Harold Peart and his brothers Bertie and Harry because grandfather had always complained about the lack of a clock when he preached at the chapel. My father was organist while uncles Bertie and Harry were local preachers.

George Peart was born at Itteringham Common and married Bessie Ayton a daughter of Stephen Ayton, the bailiff also noted on the website. George's father, my great-grandfather, was born in Aylsham. Georges married life was spent in the end cottage in Wolterton Road, the garden of which stands the Methodist Chapel. As a very young child I could never understand why I was taken to the other chapel when we had one in the garden!

My parents and I lived with grandfather for just a while after the war when my father came back to Norfolk after serving in the RAF. I was born at Newmarket. Grandmother Bessie died in 1938 a few years before my birth.

My mother was a member of the Fields family from neighbouring Oulton and one of her aunts married Truman Lake, an Itteringham farmer, I understand.
There were strong ties between the Peart and Fields families through grandfather's preaching at the Congregational Chapel in Oulton.

The death of George Peart in October 1954 sadly ended the family association with Itteringham but we hold its history close our hearts.
Stephen Peart

The chapel was finally sold at G. A. Key's auction on 23rd September 1971 for £1,575.00 to a builder, Mr. R. A. Gidney of Hindringham. Mr. Gidney said he would be converting the building, which still had its pulpit into Some sort of dwelling house.

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 01263 713658 or

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