Woodditton: Nonconformity

Page 97

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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The handful of individual dissenters known before the 19th century were members of churches elsewhere: probably Burwell-Soham in 1676, (fn. 1) and Isleham in 1781. (fn. 2)

The Primitive Methodists were the first organized group in the parish, active perhaps from 1829 and building a small flint and brick chapel at the north end of Saxon Street in 1835 (fn. 3) as part of the Wickhambrook (Suff.) circuit. (fn. 4) By 1851 attendance reached 100 in the mornings and 200 in the afternoons, more than the parish church. (fn. 5) The chapel was important in spreading the Methodist word in south-east Cambridgeshire. (fn. 6) With outside help the congregation bought a site on the corner of Saxon Street and Cheveley Road, where in 1884 it opened a red- and yellow-brick chapel rather more showy than its nearby Anglican rival. (fn. 7) It remained open in 2001.

A Particular Baptist chapel opened on the south side of Little Ditton in 1870 and attracted a congregation of 40 in 1873, but closed c. 1896. (fn. 8)

The pastor of the Cheveley Congregationalists built a corrugated-iron mission hall on the Stetchworth road west of Ditton Green in 1882. It throve in the early 20th century with 28 adult members and a Sunday school of 64 in 1910, and had its own resident minister in the 1950s, but by then membership had already dwindled, and the chapel closed in 1966 and was demolished. (fn. 9)


  • 1. Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 232; below, Burwell, nonconf.; Soham, nonconf.
  • 2. Isleham Church Bk. 1693-1805 (C.R.S. vi), 198.
  • 3. G.R.O., RG 31/2, Sudbury archdeac. nos. 665, 773; inscription on bldg. (now Chapel Cottage; identifiable as the chapel from position in P.R.O., RG 9/1031, ff. 163v.-172v.).
  • 4. C.R.O. Annual Rep. (1983), 15.
  • 5. P.R.O., HO 129/189, f. 6; cf. above, church.
  • 6. e.g. above, Cheveley, nonconf.
  • 7. R. S. Blair, Reaching the Masses (1884), 112-15 (copy in Newham (Lond.) Local Hist. Libr.).
  • 8. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1875-96); O.S. Maps 1/2,500, Cambs. XLIX. 3 (1886, 1901 edns.); C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/24; C 3/31; C 3/39.
  • 9. Congregational Year Bk. (1895 and later edns., sampled at 5-year intervals); C.R.O., cat. of docs. elsewhere, s.v. Cheveley Congregational Mission; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1883 and later edns.); O.S. Map 1/2,500, Cambs. XLIX. 6 (1885 edn.); cf. above, Cheveley, nonconf.