Methodist Church interior

Methodist Church

A  Wesleyan Methodist Society was formed in Milverton about 1840 and for some years they met in an upper room, probably at the Globe Inn. Sometimes as many as 120 people attended and it became obvious that a permanent chapel was needed. In October 1849 application was made to the Methodist Building Committee for permission to build a chapel in Milverton. This was granted and a parcel of land, part of the Irongates Estate, was purchased. On it stood a stable, a smith’s shop and another workshop, all of which had to be cleared away before construction could start. The building was finished in 1850; it had cost £222. Thirteen Trustees were appointed; for the most part they were tradesmen from Wiveliscombe; there were only two Milverton residents, John Lock, a baker and William Lock, a shopkeeper. Today there are still thirteen Trustees most of whom are farmers or retired farmers and about half of them live in Milverton.

Perhaps the most popular of chapel meetings were the social teas held twice annually. A special guest speaker was invited and the ladies collaborated in preparing an excellent tea. Generally whole families attended an afternoon service and the tea followed. The headmaster of the local school expressed his disapproval of these arrangements in several entries in the school log. In 1864 he wrote, “Dissenters’ tea meeting caused several absences” and again in 1869, “A few boys absent to attend tea-drinking at Wesleyan Chapel”.

The chaple was served by two qualified local preachers, Thomas Bowerman ans Daniel Maunder, who shared services with the circuit minister.

At first there was little meaningful contact between church and chapel, indeed there was frequent animosity between the two congregations.This has completely vanished in recent years ans joint services are now held at regular monthly intervals, alternately in the church and chapel.

In 1999 it was decided to refurbish the chapel in order to enable the church and  village to use the building at other times than on a Sunday and also to give access for a wider range of activities. Work was completed in 2000 and plaque mounted to celebrate the refurbishment and 150 years of worship in the building.

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