Methodist Barn Chapel
The first record of religious non-conformity in Steeple Morden is in 1779 when a barn was the registered for dissenting services. Another was registered in 1800. It appears that gradually the number of dissenters grew. It was said they had a Sunday School in 1818 and by 1823 that there was clearly need for longer term arrangements as regard a chapel. The building chosen was a barn in the yard of The Waggon & Horses. Surprising perhaps, as abstinence or at least controlled consumption of alcohol became a tenet of Methodism.
The premises are described in the Lease granted in 1823 for a term of 21 years. Pearce Jeneway was the landlord, the others listed under Second Party were the Trustees of the Methodist Church in Steeple Morden. This Lease was replaced in 1827, when the Methodist Trustees had expanded both in number and geographically. Steeple Morden was a member of the Biggleswade Wesleyan Methodist Circuit, which was created in 1812 from the St Neot Circuit, as the Biggleswade and Hitchin Circuit. Following the formation of a separate Hitchin Circuit in 1842, Steeple Morden remained a member of the Biggleswade Circuit, although the only one in Cambridgeshire. This was a factor in the close relationship between Steeple Morden and Biggleswade over the years.
Below is the original lease and below that is the replacement lease in 1827 for the remaining 16 years of the original term.. It is interesting to note the key participants resident in Steeple Morden are Thomas Barker, Thomas Hall and Samuel Pateman, with Davey Jeneway appearing in the 1827 lease.
Lease of Barn for Chapel. Janeway to Barker and others 26 July 1823 – Abstract
Indenture made 26 July 1823, between
Pearse Jeneway of Steeple Morden farmer
Thomas Barker of Steeple Morden miller
Thomas Hall of Steeple Morden farmer
Samuel Pateman of Steeple Morden butcher
Jabez East of Litlington farmer
John Pearmain of Bassingbourn wheelwright
Jonathan Picking of Ashwell carpenter
Witnesseth that in consideration of the rent covenants and agreements on the part of Second Party the said Pearse Jeneway hath devised and leased to the Second Party. All that Barn or Building situate Steeple Morden in the yard of Pearse Jeneway there adjoining to and abutting upon certain premises of Thomas Goodchild on the one part and certain premises of Pearse Jeneway on the other now in the occupation of Thomas Goodchild. Together with a right of way to and from the barn between the messuage or tenement of Pearse Jeneway on the one side and the messuage and premises of Thomas Goodchild on the other side to and from the street.
To have and to hold from the day of these presents for the term of 21 years. In Trust nevertheless and for the sole purpose of using the same as a place of divine worship and to permit the ministers of a certain sect of Dissenters from the Established Church of England called the Primitive Methodists to preach and perform divine service therein (the same being first licensed according to law). Paying unto Pearse Jenenway yearly rent of £2 2s 0d in four equal payments on 26 Oct, 26 Jan, 26 Apr and 26 Jul, first payment on 26 Oct next. Second party to repair, except for thatching, which Pearse Jeneway to repair.
Signed: Pearse Jeneway (x), Thos Barker, Samuel Pateman (x), Jabez East (x), Thos Hall, John Pearmain[No signature for Jonathan Picking]
Witnesses: Thos Wortham junr, Henry Watson, clerk to Mr Wortham
On 24 December 1823 agreed between the parties that for any other sect of dissenters beside Primitive Methodists to use Chapel. Signed: John Pearmain, Pearse Jeneway (x)
On 18 October 1827 we within named in Second Party consent to give up the premises and destroy lease, Pearse Jeneway having agreed to grant a new lease, to fresh Trustees from 26 Jul 1827 for 17 years. Signed: John Pearmain
Lease of Barn for Chapel. Jeneway to Barker and others. 14 November 1827 – Abstract
Indenture made 14 November 1827, between
Pearce Jeneway of Steeple Morden, farmer
Thomas Barker of Steeple Morden, miller
Davy Jeneway of Steeple Morden, farmer
Thomas Hall of Steeple Morden, farmer
Jabez East of Litlington, farmer
Thomas Hine of Stotfold, Beds., farmer
Thomas Masters of Guilden Morden, farmer
William Conquest of Biggleswade, Beds, painter
Samuel Cocking of Biggleswade, Beds., gardener
Robert Hodges of Biggleswade, Beds., gardener
William Gentle of Baldock, Herts., tailor
John Christie of Halls Green, Weston, Herts., farmer
James Lilley of Guilden Morden, farmer
Witnesseth that in consideration of rent and covenants of Second Party Pearce Jeneway hath devised and leased and doth devise and lease to Second Party all that chapel or building situate and being in Steeple Morden in the yard of Pearce Jeneway there now used as a place of Divine Worship by the people called Methodists of the Rev John Wesley’s connection adjoining and abutting upon certain premises of Thomas Goodchild on the one part and certain premises of Pearce Jeneway on the other part. Together with a right of way for Second Party and all other persons who shall go to Chapel to attend Divine Worship or shall return therefrom to and from the north west end of the chapel between the messuage or tenement of the said Pearce Jeneway on the one side and the messuage and premises of Thomas Goodchild on the other side, into the street.
To have and to hold onto Second Party from 26 July last past for one year, but with assurance of enjoyment of premises for further sixteen years, but upon the trusts for Methodist worship. And paying unto Pearce Jeneway £2 2s 0d by four equal payments on 26 October, 26 January, 26 April and 26 July, with first payment on 26 October next. The trustees [Second Party] to do repairs, except the thatching on the said chapel.
Signed: Pearce Jeneway (x), Thos Barker, Davy Jeneway, Thos Hall, Jabex East (x), Thos Hine, Thos Masters, William Conquest, Samuel Cocking, Robert Hodges, William Gentle, John Christy [sic], James Lilley (x)
Witnesses: Henry Watson clk to Mr Wortham, solr Royston, Willm Brocklehurst
End of Document
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Last Updated on April 17, 2023