Methodism in Leighton Buzzard
Methodists would have originally met in private homes, and initially
the Wesleyan Church was in the Bedford Circuit. However, in approximately
Leighton Buzzard became a separate circuit.
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.
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
and a library. Two houses ('manses') were built on either side of the
chapel for use by the ministers.
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
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
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).
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.
In 1960 the Wesleyan and Atterbury groups united with the
North Street Methodist Church, thus forming the present Trinity Methodist