new welney sign

The Welney Website

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Welney

page created May 2010, amended/updated Thursday, 20 June 2013

early postcard I understood that the first Primitive Methodist congregation was founded in Welney in 1832, seemingly confirmed by the fact that a chapel was built in 1839 (White's Norfolk Directory, 1890, p892) in Main Street (then known as High Road).

However, a website visitor in Australia, Roberta Muir, e-mailed in 2013 to say that during the course of tracing her family history she had uncovered references to marriage ceremonies in a "Priminative [sic] Methodist Church, Welney" in 1787 and 1804, also she has reference to a "St. John's Chapel". Obviously more research needded.

We can fairly safely say it was rebuilt in 1890 (see below right). The post card above (from the Website Archives courtesy of Jennifer Sindall.) is of the later building, possibly in the 1930s. Below is the same building in 2006 and 2010.
early postcard
a packed chapel on a special occasion. Large cake on table.
Date and source unknown.
From the Welney Website archives
early postcard
2006 pre plastic double glazing
Chapel in 2010
Photos: Peter Cox
Note the changes in the three front views. Some locals were critical when the "old" doors and windows were replaced in the late 2000s with Upvc double glazed units, but at least it no longer looks a derelict eyesore and they are weather proof too.

Interesting is that the new semi-circular window above the door is nearer the style of the original pattern than the one it replaced, but the other windows were not similarly retro-styled. I think that is a shame, and to me the new ones and the door are ghastly. The other obvious difference is the front wall and railings.
Chapel plaque in 2010
Plaque at top of building:
 "1890 Primitive Methodist"
It closed during the 1980s due to £8,500 repairs needed and poor attendance. The congregation transferred to the Methodist Church at Lakes End.

It was bought by local builder Jerry James (Jasset Builders) and permission given for storage, but was used as a carpentry workshop leading to complaints of noise.

Jasset sold it in 1995 and it became, for a while, an antiques/ bric-brac store.

In the summer of 1998 it was bought (for cash apparently) by a couple from Cambridge, Martin Kyne-Lilley and Elizabeth Deckker who began conversion to a two-storey home. I believe a large mezzanine floor was installed and all living accomodation was to be at ground level leaving the mezzanine as one large open space. The couple were very hospitable and hosted numerous parties, a notable one being a palindrome one on 20th February 2002 (20 02 2002).
They moved away from Welney before completion, and the property remained empty for several years.

I understand that it was then bought by a developer who replaced the old metal framed windows and wooden front door with white plastic ones which attracted some adverse comments but made the property more secure and weatherproof.

I also uderstand that the building was let (late 2009?) to Simon Elliott who for a while ran a youth club in Welney.

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