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Methodism in Leighton Buzzard

The Methodists would have originally met in private homes, and initially the Wesleyan Church was in the Bedford Circuit. However, in approximately 1812, Leighton Buzzard became a separate circuit.

former Hockliffe Street Methodist Chapel, Leighton Buzzardformer Hockliffe Street Methodist Chapel, Leighton Buzzard

The first Wesleyan Chapel in Leighton was dedicated in 1805, and was located in Hockliffe Street. This, reportedly unattractive building, was improved in 1857, and then replaced in 1865 by a much larger chapel (see picture). The old chapel was then used for a time by the Baptists.

The Methodist's new chapel was located a short distance further along Hockliffe Street. The chapel cost £5,000, and seated 1,200 people, although on special occasions this was exceeded. The basement was used for classrooms and a library. Two houses ('manses') were built on either side of the chapel for use by the ministers.

Hockliffe Street Methodist Chapel, Leighton Buzzardformer Manse for the Hockliffe Street Methodist Chapel, Leighton Buzzard

The church remained open until 1960, when extensive repairs were needed to the building. It was subsequently sold to the Council and the Wesleyan Methodists united with the Primitive Methodists in North Street in the late 1960s (see later).

The Hockliffe Street Chapel was finally demolished in 1969, and all that now remains is the right-hand 'manse', which more recently has been used as a veterinary surgery (it is at the entrance to the Hockliffe Street car park). A modern office building is located where the chapel used to be, and the left-hand manse disappeared to make way for the ring road.

The Primitive Methodists originally had a chapel in Mill Road, this wooden building was destroyed in a fire in 1888. Following this a new chapel was constructed in 1890 in North Street (now the Trinity Methodist Church). This new chapel cost £2,340 and had seating for 500 persons. A residence for the minister was also built, on the north side of the chapel. The chapel has subsequently undergone many changes, including major enlargement work in 1967, costing £22,500 (the adjoining residence was demolished to make room for this work).

Primitive Methodist Chapel, North Street, Leighton BuzzardTrinity Methodist Church, North Street, Leighton Buzzard

In addition to the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, there was also an Atterbury Mission in Leighton Buzzard. This was located at a small Methodist Mission House, built in 1885, at 83 Vandyke Road.

Atterbury Methodist Chapel,  Vandyke Road, Leighton Buzzard

In 1960 the Wesleyan and Atterbury groups united with the North Street Methodist Church, thus forming the present Trinity Methodist Church.