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Wiltshire Community History

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Primitive Methodist Chapel, Figheldean

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Figheldean Date Photo Taken c.1912
Uploaded 02/12/2009 11:50:03
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

The first Methodist preacher, coming from Andover, would begin by preaching at a market square with a prayer and 'rousing' hymn to get the villagers to come over and see what he was doing. This was the case in Figheldean and after this the newly formed society would have been organised into classes, each with a class leader. A house on the east side of the High Street was certified for Primitive Methodists in 1838. The newly formed society forwarded four shillings and sixpence as their quarter's collection to Andover in March 1839. They would meet at least weekly for prayer, bible reading and testimony. Sunday meetings would be organised in each other's homes, or barns, or in the open air. Meetings were held regularly in the barn (now demolished) adjoining the bottom of Pollen's Lane. The entrance was through the house. This was also the meeting place of the Sunday school. Abel Peck was one local preacher who came from Durrington, bringing his 'munch' to eat in Chapel before leaving after evening service. A camp meeting was held periodically; there was a procession of people to an open air service. Once the society was set up the preacher would move on to another village.

Loans were used to build the chapel, these were gained from other society members from Vernham Dean and St. Mary Bourne, Hampshire. It took 16 years to clear the debts. Land was bought for £21-10-0 and the chapel was built by a builder from Amesbury. It was a small red brick building near the house which had been licensed in the High Street. People helped by supplying flint; they picked it from the field behind the school in the evenings and carted it to the site. A stone laying ceremony took place in July 1882. The congregation had trouble with the builder and the case went to court. They won but did incur heavy legal costs. They were given free pine seats by the builder afterwards! Harvest Thanksgiving, Lantern and Musical Services were held in the new chapel. A stove was put in 1897, and an organ in 1888. Double gates were made by Nias Sheppard, blacksmith, in 1884 (he was at one time a Sunday school teacher). In 1893 he put iron bars and bolted wheel rims along the outside of the building to stop it collapsing. William Pannels was the society steward from the 1890s to 1954. He played violin at services and in camp meetings and processions, and he trimmed the hedge and grass. A large harmonium was purchased in 1920. W. Gater was the Vicar in the 1930s. At the Golden Jubilee Celebration he commented on the 'splendid spirit of unity' which existed in the village. There was evening entertainment of 'sketches and duets, quartets, etc'. Figheldean left the Andover Circuit in 1960 and joined Salisbury. The chapel was licensed for weddings in the late 1950s. In 1966 a door was cut through the rear wall and a small kitchen, toilet and fuel store was built. The chapel was also redecorated. It had closed by 1971.


Eric Panting said:

My Great Grandfather George Cripps preached there around 1868 would anyone have any information about that time
Posted 10/03/2010

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