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A Brief History of Methodism in Rushden
The present Church showing the wooden spire prior to its removal in 1986
The present Church showing the wooden spire
prior to its removal in 1986.

Rushden was only a small village, but records show there was a Methodist Society of 15 members attached to the Bedford Circuit.  There were three farmers and their wives, two lace makers, one huckster and his wife, one servant, two labourers and two are simply described as ‘poor’.
The Society became attached to the Wellingborough Circuit and preaching services were first held in cottages.
Worshipped in an old barn on the Green behind the War Memorial (now the site of part of Peter Crisp’s store).  The barn was converted to a Chapel about 1827 and in 1834 had 106 sittings.
One service only held up until 1846, then two.  A plan is in existence showing Rushden with two services each Sunday and two Rushden Local Preachers on the plan – Brothers Franklin and Brawn.
First Sunday School held; Mr George Tailby of Stanwick became Superintendent.  It is noted that the only lights were candles.
There were now three services held each Sunday with numbers averaging 50 in the morning, 40 in the afternoon and 40 in the evening.
The records show that, owing to the disruption in the Connexion and the coming into being of the Wesleyan Reform Church, the Society in Rushden closed.
In the Circuit minute book a resolution was passed at Higham Ferrers: “Resolved Rushden be taken on the plan if a house can be obtained there”.
Local Preachers’ Meeting held at Bencroft Lodge.
Local Preachers’ Meeting held at Rushden.
Brother Abraham Gadsby was nominated and accepted as a Local Preacher.
Rushden was mentioned in the Local Preachers’ Meeting and in the Quarterly Meeting it was unanimously agreed to commence a Cause there next Quarter.  (That would be March 1888).
Methodism was re-introduced in Rushden.
It was proposed “Brother J. Dickens of Rushden commence with us as an Exhorter or on trial as the Superintendent thinks fit.”
The Sunday School was held in the Public Hall in Coffee Tavern Lane, and later in the British Women’s Temperance Association (BWTA) Hall on the corner of Newton Road and Park Road [now a motor car showroom].
School Chapel (the present Methodist Hall) erected at a cost of £2,400 including the land.
At the Quarterly Meeting held at Irthlingborough it was resolved that Rev. J. Lawrence and Mr Cummings should canvass Irthlingborough on behalf of Rushden.
Quarterly Meeting: resolution proposed that the balance of £4 from Knotting Chapel be given to the Rushden Bazaar.
Trustees of the School Chapel were appointed.
Land was purchased for a manse at Rushden in Park Road.
Proposal to build present Church, under the aegis of The Wesleyan Methodist Church. (Click here to read newspaper account)
Easter.  Stone-laying of present Church.
Easter Monday, April 24th.  Present Church opened; cost £5,200.
The Rev. Charles H. Kelly conducted the Opening Dedication Service and in the afternoon the Rev. H. Howard May conducted a Young People’s Service.
First boy to be Christened in the new Church was H. E. Bates.
Pipe organ Dedication Service; organ unlocked.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church joins with The Primitive Methodist Church and The United Methodist Church to form The Methodist Church of Great Britain
Jubilee celebration of Methodism in Rushden (1888–1938).
Radio broadcast of Service from Park Road on BBC Home Service.
War Memorial Dedication Service for those who fell in the 1939–1945 World War.
Boilers converted from coke to oil burning, £374.
Diamond Jubilee celebration of the present Church (1905–1965).
75th Anniversary celebration of the present Church (1905–1980).
Boilers converted from oil to natural gas burning.
Opening and Dedication of the Church extension linking both buildings together.
The 81 year old wooden spire was removed from the top of the tower because it was leaning and the timbers were rotting.  On top of the 24ft spire had been a 6ft weathervane.
The Rev. Alan Taplin preached 50 sponsored sermons from 9.00am to 1.40pm and raised £1,320 towards the cost of the new extension.
Lightning struck the Church Hall causing the chimney to crash through the roof of the Guild Room.
Church and Hall rewired and decorated.  New lighting was installed.
Raunds joined the Higham Ferrers Circuit.
Asbestos cladding was removed from the boilers at a cost of £1,495.
The kitchen was refurbished.
A major leak in the hot water heating system to the Church cost £4,800 to repair.
The Youth Club was restarted.
A new amplifier and loop system was installed in the Church at a cost of £2,406.
The Parlour kitchen was refurbished.
The Rushden and Higham Ferrers Circuit amalgamated with Wellingborough and became the Nene Valley Circuit.  Superintendent Minister: the Rev. Gordon Chisnall.  The Administration Office for the new Circuit was located at Park Road.
Rushden and Higham Ferrers Churches joined together to form one Church.
Centenary celebration of the present Church.
Suggestions were sought from Church Members for a name for the new united Church.  From the entries ‘Hope Methodist Church’ was selected by Rev. Alison Tomlin (District Chair).
Plans for the redevelopment of the site of the chapel in Higham Ferrers were ongoing.
The Hope Methodist Church in Park Road was put up for sale at a price of £500,000.
Despite initial interest from one or two parties, there had been no sale forthcoming and the property was put up for auction in June at a guide price of £50,000.
The buildings were bought by members of the church congregation.
As a temporary measure, the Methodist church was invited to hold their services from September at the church hall of the Roman Catholic church, St Peter Apostle, in Hayway.
The final service held by the Methodists at the Park Road church was at 10.30am on Sunday, 25th August. The service was led by Rev Shirley Baker and was very well attended by the congregation with many visitors and well-wishers.
The transfer of ownership of the buildings was concluded on Friday, August 30th.  However the Methodist congregation did not plan to hold their first service at the Catholic hall until Sunday, September 8th owing to a Circuit service being held at the chapel in Irthlingborough.
The premises in Park Road re-opened on Sunday, September 1st, as an independent church called The Heritage Chapel and Halls.

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