Methodism came to Lincolnshire in 1765 beginning at Grimsby.   It spread down to the east coast towns and then turned west­wards to reach Sleaford in 1815. John Wesley visited Bourne in 1782, putting up at the Golden Lion in West Street.  He preached in the Market Place and held a prayer meeting the following morning at five o’clock.   No doubt some Thurlby people attended these meetings and joined in welcoming the great evangelis.

The Stamford Circuit was formed in 1807 and Thurlby was for a time included in it.   The mother of William Hayes is said to have introduced Methodism into the village, and for a while services were held in cottages and barns.  A Sunday School was started in 1830 and a Chapel was built in 1832.  The site, in High Street, was the gift of the Jackson family who had come from Crowland and had set up business as blacksmiths ana cordwainers.

The first load of bricks was carted by Edis Smith.  The Chapel was opened in June 1832 by a local preacher from Pointon named Wright. When the Chapel in High Street was built, in 1832, the singing was led by string and wind instruments, such as Oboe, ‘Cello and Violin. In 1852 a Pipe Organ was installed, and later a Harmonium.

In 1854 there was a split amongst the Methodists, and the Free Methodists separated themselves from the Wesleyans. At first the new connection worshipped in a barn in Whitechapel Row.  Later a building was erected for them by John Wade in Crown Lane.  This building was later converted into four cottages.

The Top Chapel was built in 1861, at a cost of £280 on a site bought from John Fields for £25.   It was opened by John Gutteridge of Manchester.   The adjoining Schoolroom was added in 1904 and was opened by Percy Rawson of Sheffield, the Liberal candidate for the Stamford constituency.

14 Responses to METHODIST CHAPEL

  1. Anne Coulter says:

    My Gr Grandfather Thomas Austin was born in Thurlby and the Austin family appear on the 1852 UK Census as living in the Hamlet of Northorpe, Thurlby Parish, Lincolnshire. His father was John Austin and his mother Catherine Ellis. Do you have any suggestions for further research of the family? Thomas immigrated to Mortean Bay Australia in approx 1863 where he lived until he died in1912.

    • stfirmin says:

      Hi Anne
      I will have a look in our records at St Firmin for mention of the Austin and Ellis families, we have an index to the transcipts, and will come back to you as soon as I can. Our records do include some entries for the methodists in the village. I live in Northorpe myself have you an address ?

    • Mary Trumble says:

      St Firmins Church Thurlby – transcripts

      No Marriage found for William and Elizabeth Arnold


      Oct 9 1760 Elizabeth to William & Elizabeth
      27 June 1762 Mary (Arnold) to William & Elizabeth Arnold

      7 April 1785 Stephen Ellis to Mary Arnold

      Baptisms – children of Stephen & Mary Ellis

      Dec 30 1786 Mary
      Jan 9 1788 Elizabeth
      Feb 24 1791 Alice
      Sept 3 1793 John
      Feb 25 1795 Sarah
      Jan 15 1797 Ann
      Oct 20 1799 Susanna
      Aug 6 1802 Catherine (Ellis)
      Oct 2 1804 William


      Stephen Ellis Blacksmith Jan 19 1811
      Mary Ellis of Thulby June 9 1841

      17 Aug 1824 John Austin – Catherine Ellis

      Children to John and Catherine Austin

      29 Aug 1825 John
      24 Dec 1826 Watson
      29 March 1828 Ann
      7 March 1830 Alice
      9 Oct 1831 Henry Buried 26 Oct 1831
      27 Dec 1832 Henry Buried 14 Jan 1840 Age 7
      4 May 1834 Elizabeth
      9 Jan 1836 William
      8 Oct 1839 Thomas (2 years old)
      8 Oct 1839 George
      13 June 1841 Barnet

  2. David Smith says:

    Hi there.
    I am trying to find out about any children born to Robert Smith who was married at Thurlby on 31.10.1809 to Joyce Shepherd. I know he was baptised at Tinwell in Rutland in 1789 but after his wedding I have no information until the census of 1841/51/61 when he is living at Gosberton.
    There are two sons named in 1841, John – 7 and Robert – 9. Also living with them is Mary Smith aged 49.
    I would love to know if there are any records concerning Robert and his wife and family between 1809 and 1841.I wonder could you help.
    Many thanks,
    David Smith.

  3. Mary Trumble says:

    October 31st 1808 Roberts Smith Widow and Joyce Shepherd

    July 3rd 1808 Rebecca (45) first wife????

    Children of Robert and Rebecca

    Jan 5th 1792 William
    Oct 21st 1793 Edward
    March 2nd 1801 Rebecca
    April 25th 1803 Mary

  4. june drury says:

    i am trying to find the birth and death dates of my grandparents.robinson sara and oh ithink it was either joseph or john,they are both buried at st firmins in thurlby.i know that the stones have gone and that you have kept records.please can you help of my brothers lived in thurlby once and now in bourne,his name is bill robinson.thakyou june drury

    • stfirmin says:

      Hi June
      I have found the details of the gravestone.
      It says
      In loving memory of
      John W Robinson
      Who died June 4th 1942
      Aged 75 Years
      Also of his wife
      Sarah Ann
      Who died Feb 11th 1934
      Aged 63 Years
      “At Rest”

      Inscription on the flower holder reads
      In loving memory of
      Sarah Ann Robinson
      Died 11th Feb 1934 Aged 62 Years – Rest in Peace

      No records of birth unfortunately

    • Sue Sharpe says:

      Hi June
      Have recently found your query whilst doing family research at Thurlby. My great grandparents were John William and Sarah Ann Robinson (nee Platts) and I have visited their grave today. My grandmother Gladys May was their oldest child. Her two brothers also lived in Thurlby – Jack and George. Their other sister Mary Leah lived elsewhere. I understand that your brother Bill still lives in Bourne.

  5. Barbara says:

    Have you any info on Harold Sneath who bequeathed his home to the YHA?
    I am a volunteer manager at the hostel and am compiling a history of the house.

    Best wishes,

    Barbara Everest

  6. Barbara says:

    Thank you very much for this. I will stay in touch.

  7. Isobell King says:


    I have been researching Henry King who appears in the 1841 Census

    born in 1832 Hacconby,Bourn

    He is 9 years old.

    He is a Wesleyan Methodist

    I have been searching in Find My Past

  8. e wilson says:


    • MaryT says:

      I have just noticed your post and not sure if I answered it at the time. We have no records other than some baptism for the Methodist Church, although quite a few methodists married at St Firmins Church. There is no record of Clarke and Hall 1902, I am assuming you are asking about a marriage. Our Methodist Chapel indexes do not have baptisms for either at that date.

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