History

Methodists have been meeting at the corner of Orange Street and North Street West for over 200 years.

We are part of the Stamford Circuit of the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

Our circuit is served by three ministers. Uppingham is in the Oakham Section of the circuit and our minister is the Reverend Bekkie Wright.

OUR MISSION IS TO SHARE THE LOVE OF CHRIST THROUGH COMMITMENT AND SUPPORT OF EACH OTHER AND ALL IN THE WIDER COMMUNITY

HISTORY OF UPPINGHAM METHODIST CHURCH

1817 Methodists first started meeting in Uppingham in ‘Charles Peach’s Schoolroom’, which was probably at his home in High Street East. Charles Peach was a schoolmaster, therefore the Church was likely to have had a work amongst children from the beginning, probably teaching them to read, using the Bible. 

1818 The first Methodist Baptisms took place in Uppingham, the Minister travelling from Oakham, mostly on foot, and staying with members of the Church. 

1819 The Chapel was built at a cost of £486 13s 3d.

By 1827 there were 27 members, organised into ‘Classes’. The Class Leader had a pastoral responsibility for the members, caring for their physical and spiritual welfare.

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    In 1838, Mary Drake, daughter of one of the founding members, married the Minister Rev John Bell who became a missionary. Mary and Mr Bell travelled to Nevis in the West Indies straight after their wedding. Mary gave birth to a son in August 1839 and Rev John Bell died of yellow fever a few weeks later. Mary and the child survived the voyage home and Mary lived in Uppingham for the rest of her life. The Drake family were prominent members for several generations from the founding of the church until the 1950s.

    The Church has gone through ‘ups and downs’ throughout its’ 193 years, but by 1872 it had grown enough to need rebuilding and extending to the size it is today. It is likely that the refurbishments were carried out by Henry Drake, a Stonemason. He built Wistaria House in Ayston Road for himself as well as many cottages and buildings in Uppingham.

    In 1887 a Schoolroom was added at the back (now the Wesley Room).

    Towards the end of the nineteenth century women began to hold office in the Church for the first time, and moving into the twentieth century many social and fundraising activities were held as well as Missionary Meetings and Choir Concerts. A pipe organ was installed in 1913. Electricity was not connected until just before World War II.

    World War II saw the evacuation of the Methodist school, Kingswood, to the town. The Methodists gave them a warm welcome and very good links were forged leading to a revitalisation of the Church. When Kingswood left in 1946, boards were presented between the school and the church, expressing the appreciation of mutual help.

    After the war, numbers again declined, even leading to closure of the Sunday School, but fortunately in the 1970’s new families came to the town and things took off again. The rooms at the back of the Chapel which had been let as a shop, were converted into a vestry and kitchen.

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    By the 1990’s the whole of the buildings were in a bad state of repair, and not suitable for modern needs. The Crossroads Project was launched, and in excess of £180,000 was raised.

    In 1999, the building you see today was completed and reopened, ready for a new century of Christian service to Uppingham and beyond.

    In 2017 Uppingham Methodists celebrated their Bicentenary and today is a thriving fellowship with approximately 38 members. As well as church activities the town is fully involved in the life of the church through weekly coffee mornings, a Toddler Group, an Art Group and the premises are let to various organisations.

    Further information: records can be found in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland www.leics.gov.uk/recordoffice and more information can be obtained from Uppingham Local History Studies Group at: www.uppinghamhistory.org.uk

    Crossroads Project

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      Artwork done by Methodartz for the
      Bi-centenary in 2017

      The Cross dressed on Easter Morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on that first Easter Morning.