Wrockwardine Wood
Nonconformity

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Victoria County History

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Author

G C Baugh, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, D C Cox, Jessie McFall, P A Stamper, A J L Winchester

Year published

1985

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Pages

331-332

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'Wrockwardine Wood: Nonconformity', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 331-332. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18199 Date accessed: 26 October 2014.


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NONCONFORMITY.

A Wesleyan Methodist society associated with John Fletcher, the Evangelical vicar of Madeley, apparently met at Trench in 1765. (fn. 49) Wesleyans were meeting at the Nabb in 1813, and by 1815 there was a chapel there. (fn. 50) On Census Sunday 1851 afternoon service was attended by 130 adults, evening service by 70; afternoon attendance was said to average 180. (fn. 51) In 1863 the Wesleyans moved to St. George's and the Nabb chapel closed. (fn. 52)

In 1824 St. John's Wesleyan chapel, Trench Road, opened. Society membership grew from 8 in 1821 to 71 in 1824, and more than doubled between 1826 and 1828 to 134. On Census Sunday 1851 services were attended by 99 adults in the morning and 333 in the evening, although there were only 140 free and 146 rented seats. Attendance was said to average 150 adults and 70 children. (fn. 53) There were 50 adherents in 1910 and 1920, and 80 in 1930. (fn. 54) In 1948 membership was small and the chapel closed, being replaced by the Methodist church hall, New Donnington. (fn. 55)

The first Primitive Methodist society in the county was established at Oakengates in 1821. In 1823 it became a circuit centre and the first circuit chapel was built at the Moss next to the inclined plane. It replaced Oakengates in 1828 as the circuit centre. (fn. 56) On Census Sunday 1851 there were 405 adult worshippers in the afternoon and 303 in the evening, apparently average numbers. The chapel had 500 seats, 300 of them free. (fn. 57) In 1864 it was rebuilt in diapered red and blue brick to seat 700, and in 1869 there were said to be 204 society members and a congregation of 550. A schoolroom was built next to the chapel in 1879. (fn. 58) In 1904 the congregation split when W. H. Stones, a leading church member and a circuit steward, supported Dr. J. McC. McCarthy, a Conservative candidate in the county council elections, contrary to connexional policy over the 1902 Education Act. Reprimanded by the circuit, Stones resigned office and later defied the circuit by accepting the trustees' invitation to preach in the chapel. A scuffle involving the minister ensued, and the dispute caused Stones and his followers to establish the Wrockwardine Wood Central Hall in Donnington Wood. (fn. 59) Between 1903 and 1905 the congregation of Wrockwardine Wood chapel fell from 550 to 400, and membership from c. 100 to 83. (fn. 60) There were said to be 250 adherents in 1910 and 1920, 150 in 1930. (fn. 61) A burial ground opened in 1927. (fn. 62) The chapel had 51 members in 1982. (fn. 63)

A Primitive Methodist chapel at the Nabb known as the Rough (fn. 64) was demolished in 1864 and rebuilt in stone in 1869 to seat 170; 100 attended the principal services in 1871. (fn. 65) Numbers soon fell, to 40 in 1875 and 20 in 1890. Although they recovered between 1900 and 1910, there were only 20 adherents in 1926 when the chapel was last listed. (fn. 66) It was demolished in 1930. (fn. 67)

The Primitive Methodist Jubilee chapel, built of red brick in 1860 on the north side of Church Street, St. George's, seated 400; half the seats were free. The principal services were attended by 250 in 1869, a number that remained fairly constant until 1900. By 1920 there were only 150 adherents. In 1867 a 'double decker' schoolroom was added and in 1886 a Sunday school. (fn. 68) The chapel and schoolroom were sold in 1965, having been replaced by a new chapel on the opposite side of the road. (fn. 69)

Bethesda chapel, Trench, on the corner of Trench and Church roads, was built in 1866 in diapered red and blue brick. It seated 200, half the seats being free; 150 attended the main services in 1875, but only 60-70 between 1880 and 1890. (fn. 70) Attendance averaged 20 in 1982. (fn. 71)

In 1870 a brick mission in Lincoln Road opened, reputedly for poor people reluctant to attend the main Primitive chapel at the Moss. It had c. 150 free seats; 50 people attended the principal services in 1871, 125 in 1880. Between 1900 and 1920 there were 60-70 adherents, and 100 in 1930. (fn. 72) It was de-registered in 1954. (fn. 73) Primitive Methodists also met in 1861 at a house in Bunter's Row, south of the Shrewsbury Canal on the western boundary of the township. (fn. 74)

The Wesleyan Reformers' Ebenezer chapel, New Street, was built in 1855. It seated 230. It closed in 1963 and was sold in 1965. (fn. 75) The New Connexion met at Glasshouse Row in 1845. (fn. 76)

By 1923 the Brethren had moved from Oakengates to a Gospel Hall in West Street, which they still used in 1983. (fn. 77) Jehovah's Witnesses had a Kingdom Hall in Plough Road from 1967. (fn. 78)

Footnotes

49 Trinder, Ind. Rev. Salop. (1981), 158.
50 S.R.O., q. sess. order bk. 1808-19, f. 174v.; inf. from Mr. J. H. Lenton.
51 P.R.O., HO 129/365, no. 76.
52 S.R.O. 1963/2; above, Wombridge, Nonconf.
53 P.R.O., HO 129/365, no. 78.
54 S.R.O. 1861/107, 137, 153.
55 S.R.O. 3767/XXIII/A, H. I. Powell to Mr. Mason, 28 July 1943; inf. from Mr. Lenton; above, Lilleshall, Prot. Nonconf.
56 V.C.H. Salop. ii. 14.
57 P.R.O., HO 129/365, no. 77.
58 S.R.O. 1861/19, 79.
59 S.R.O. 2123/632; Wellington Jnl. 1 Oct. 1904; Wesley Hist. Soc., Salop. Branch, Bulletin, i (7) (1976; copy in S.R.O. 3543/9); above, Lilleshall, Prot. Nonconf.
60 S.R.O. 1861/98, 100-2.
61 Ibid. 107, 137, 153.
62 S.R.O. 3511/24-5.
63 Inf. from Mr. Lenton.
64 Ibid.
65 Williams, Wrockwardine Wood, 20; S.R.O. 1861/22.
66 S.R.O. 1861/29, 79, 96, 107, 146.
67 Williams, op. cit. 20.
68 Jubilee Methodist Church, St. Geo.'s: Centenary Bk. 1860-1960 (copy in S.R.O. 3038/9/30); S.R.O. 1861/19, 79, 96, 137.
69 G.R.O., Worship Reg. nos. 14084, 71040; S.R.O. 3038/9/47; above, Wombridge, Nonconf.
70 S.R.O. 1861/30, 44, 79, 96; inf. from Mr. Lenton.
71 Inf. from Mr. Lenton.
72 S.R.O. 1861/22, 44, 96, 107, 137, 153; Wesley Hist. Soc., Salop. Branch, Bull. i (7).
73 Inf. from Mr. Lenton.
74 S.R.O. 1861/12.
75 Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1909), 200; Meth. Church Bldgs.: Statistical Returns (1940), 268; SA 14435.
76 James, 'Here be Dragons', 17; G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 7173; Return of Churches, 1882, H.C. 401, p. 366 (1882), l.
77 Above, Wombridge, Nonconf.; G.R.O., Worship Reg. no. 49042.
78 Ibid. no. 71036.