History of the Church

A booklet giving the full history of the Church can be downloaded from here:

Before 1860 the Wesleyan Methodists met in a room in College Street that was also used as a drapery and grocery business. This followed an agreement between Richard Hodges, grocer and draper and Richard Hodges, Senior, Joseph Board, Henry Board, Gilbert Frost, James Lovibond, J.M. and James Leaker to let the room for an annual rental of £3. 0s. 0d for five years. According to a document of 1863 Richard Hodges occupied a house on the south side of College Street and his father owned a house and coal yard in Berrow Road.

The foundation stone of the first Methodist Chapel in Burnham was laid on July 12th 1859,Photograph of the original (1860) Methodist Church, now an amusment arcade and Night Club. following the purchase by eleven trustees, of a plot of land on the corner of High Street and Adam Street on June 27th 1859 from George Reed.

It was built at a cost of £300 by Albert Hodges, brother of Richard and opened on January 17th 1860 by Rev. J. Rattenbury. The stained glass window borders, which cost £1. 4s. 0d were still visible until 1968. This ‘New Chapel’ was in use for 19 years and housed the Sunday School until 1906. In 1862 a harmonium was bought for £12 and in the same year bills of one shilling each were paid to remove the snow and mow the chapel yard.

It was soon realised that a new Church must be acquired and the Methodists moved back to College Street. Was this to the site where the draper’s shop had been?  

Our present Church was opened on June 25th 1879 by the Rev. M.C. Osborn. The land cost £200 and the building £1,041. 10s. 0d, the money being raised from bazaars, subscriptions, tea meetings and lectures and the letting of seats in the Church at a cost of 1s. 0d, 1s. 3d and 1s. 6d. In 1878 a bazaar realised £130.15s. 8d and subscriptions brought in £250.

The Church was heated by “two gas stoves, placed on brick chambers, under the floor, one in each aisle, covered with iron grating”. Outgoings were Insurance 1s. 3d per annum, Drainage 6d.

Following the licensing of the Church for Marriages in 1884, the first couple wed were Mr. & Mrs. Gilling, who were presented with a Bible and hymnbook.

In 1906 the premises were felt to be too small, so two transepts were added and the Sunday School premises built at the rear of the Church at a total cost of £1,250.

The income from the sale of the old Chapel left a debt of £200, which was repaid by 1910.    

By 1911 the heating apparatus was in unsatisfactory condition and in 1913 a man was appointed to put two screws in the schoolroom to prevent the water going upstairs.

During the First World War the schoolroom was opened daily for the use of troops and 5,000 sheets of notepaper and envelopes were provided. 1916 saw the provision of blackout and insurance against air raids for £3; 1921 Roll of Honour erected; 1923 Electric Light installed; 1939 The Diamond Jubilee was celebrated and a Service of Thanksgiving was held at The Ritz Cinema; 1940 Thirty members of the Church served in the Forces and in 1943 and 1944 each was sent five shillings.

(Extract from the booklet "Burnham-on-Sea Methodist Church Centenary Souvenir 1879-1979")

The full Centenary Souvenir booklet can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

Full version with photographs (9MB)

Abridged version without photographs (1MB)

Church History published in 1973

© 2008 Burnham-on-Sea Methodist Church