Nonconformity in Toft

Methodist Church 2007, see round window on left over the original door

There is no doubt that Puritan Ideas had taken deep root in Toft at the time of the Great Civil War (1642—45). From that time forward there is a history of many people and many families in the Village who wished to break away from the Established Church and to follow their own ideals of worship.

In 1659 and on other occasions John Bunyan came by invitation to preach in a barn in Toft; and afterwards there are records of numerous meetings in houses, often illegal because of the persecuting Acts of Parliament which followed the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Later, licences were sometimes granted for houses to be used for religious meetings.

In 1860, a Primitive Methodist group was formed, led by John Tebbit, and in 1862 the foundation stone of a church was laid on land leased from R. Beldam, Esq., Lord of the Manor. This church was renovated in 1940, and a schoolroom was added.

In 1950 the Village Fireside was founded, which became a meeting open to all, under the joint presidency of the Methodist Minister and the Rector of Toft.

Framed covenant

Whilst John Beer was Rector and Whitfield Foy Methodist Minister a monthly service of Holy Communion was instituted and gradually the two congregations became closer together until in May, 1999 a Covenant was signed. This was followed in November 2003 by the establishment of a Local Ecumenical Partnership – the Church in Toft.


Photographs

inside Methodist Chapel before modernisation

Date of original building

Rev WH Tebbit who opened the extension

Methodist Chapel - 1940 - following enlargement

Inside the chapel - 2007

Sanctuary with cross made by Gordon Gibson

 

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