SV 236                                                                         
thumbnail of chapel
Our chapel in the 20th century
Methodism has a very long history in Stewkley,
     both the "Wesleyan and Prim strands" had a chapel in the village at one time.
     The thumbnail above shows the present building, dated 1903.
     Early Years
     Until 1839 house groups were meeting, until a Wesleyan Chapel was built
This Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was where 57/57a High Street North, Stewkley is now located.
In 1839 this was moved to Chapel Square and in 1873 the Sunday School opposite was built.
     These are both now private houses.
In the south of the village the first Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1839 at No.1 Orchard Lane  (then known as Chapel Lane).            A plaque on the house records this fact.
When this Chapel became too small, although the congregation had little money, they acquired the site of the present Methodist Chapel and Sunday School in High Street South, Stewkley.
As time passed they despaired of raising enough money to build a new place of worship, so, after praying for guidance, they sent two members to ask the owner of the house next door to the site to buy it ( he was known to be interested ). He was not at home and when the emissaries reported this to the meeting, it was decided that the "message of God" was to build the Chapel and Sunday School, then later, the Manse next door.
Sacrificial giving and working made this possible, and the building was completed in 1903.
So the Primitive Methodists known locally as the "Prims" had considated by moving on to the High Street
It cost about £3,000, a substantial amount art the time - but this did include a pipe organ, building the Sunday School next door to the chapel cost a further £2,000.
We can still enjoy the original leaded-light windows - remaining as glorious as when they were first installed,           having been completely renovated.
The Chapel has always had its own minister.
The first was appointed in 1902, looking after five other Chapels in neighbouring villages.
In 1932 the Act of Union between the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist Churches took place,
which ultimately resulted in the closure of the "north" / "central" Wesleyan chapel, the two Stewkley Chapels amalgamated, forming one methodist congregation.
During the sixties the Stewkley Circuit joined with the Leighton Buzzard Circuit, with two ministers running the joint circuit. In 1996 a large porch was added, built in a sympathetic style to the rest of the listed building,
it is now titled High Street Methodist Church, Stewkley.
Stewkley transferred from the South Bedfordshire Circuit to the Aylesbury Vale Circuit in approximately 2006.
                                 Thank-you for reading                                             this text was researched by L. Hart