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History of Tempsford Methodist Chapel

The man responsible for introducing Methodism to Tempsford was Samuel Bennett, a Baptist by upbringing and Leicestershire man, who had moved to Tempsford to be a tenant farmer of Sir Gillies Payne. One day in 1794, Rev. Thomas Linay, the second minister in the St. Ives Circuit, was riding through Tempsford, and meeting Samuel Bennett, began a conversation with him. The result was that Mr. Linay was invited to preach in Mr. Bennett’s farm house on the next occasion he was that way. Many people were asked to this service, and there was a large congregation. The interest aroused led to regular services being held at the farm house and as numbers increased, demand arose for a chapel, but the village was controlled by Sir Gillies Payne, who was hostile to Methodism, so the possibility of building a chapel seemed remote. However, Samuel Bennett approached Sir Gillies with the request that he should be allowed to convert one of his farm barns into a chapel. At first Sir Gillies Payne was reluctant but eventually agreed to Samuel Bennett’s request and the old barn become a chapel and was registered for services.

When he gave Samuel Bennett permission to use the barn as a chapel Sir Gillies could not have realised the effect Methodism was to have on his own family. When Sir Gillies’ wife was dying it was Samuel Bennett he asked to go to talk and pray with her. Then, some years later (after the death of Sir Gillies himself in fact) two of his daughters and a niece, attended a service at the barn-chapel, and as a result became members of the Methodist Church. Sir Gillies’ successor, however, was bitterly opposed to Methodism and when the barn-chapel was no longer adequate, there seemed little chance of obtaining a site on which to build a new chapel. Everyone in the neighbourhood who had any land at all was approached, but no one was prepared to let the Methodists have a plot. Then one morning one of these, Daniel Key, went to Mr. Bennett, and told him that he had not felt easy since he had said no, and would let them have the land they wanted. So a plot was bought in Lambcourt End, and the chapel, which still stands, and is the oldest in the present St. Neots and Huntingdon Circuit, was built in 1804.

In 1878 land was given by Mr. John Browning for the erection of the Sunday School, at a cost of £156 and later in 1900 on land again given by Mr. Browning the kitchen was built, largely by voluntary labour, and a 3ft. strip of land was fenced in around the Schoolroom and Kitchen.

At the Centenary Celebrations in 1904 the premises were again renovated and the re-opening services were conducted by the Rev. Thomas Champness and 200 people had tea in the schoolroom at 4 sittings.

In 2004 Bicentenary Celebrations took place once again with the Chapel being open over a three day period. The Schoolroom was used as an Exhibition Room with both village and Church memorabilia on show dating from late 1800s to 2004. The Sunday Anniversary Service celebration was led by the Chair of the Oxford and Leicester District, Rev. Alison Tomlin.

The graveyard has not been used since the burial of Mrs. John Browning in 1908.

 

Some Old Photographs of the Chapel

 

 

     
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