Wangford Primitive Methodist Chapel and Time Capsule
Site of original Chapel built in 1827 in Norfolk Road, near Pound Corner.
‘Ebenezer’ Chapel originally built with attached Sunday School Room and Toilet.
Extract from 1936 Wangford Methodist
Sunday School Minute Book
A teachers’ meeting attended by Mrs D. Wythe and Mr F. Prime.
AGREED: Mrs Folkard and Mrs Peck be accepted as Sunday School Teachers.
That Classes be rearranged as follows –
Teacher Mrs Folkard -
Teacher Raymond Easy -
Teacher Maisie Cook -
Teacher Mr Prime -
Teacher Mrs Peck -
Teacher Mrs Wythe -
By the 1960s the numbers of regular worshippers at Wangford Methodist Chapel had diminished.
For years the four Stewards had explored ways of regenerating the Society. Various options were
considered to modernise the building, or totally replace it. Plans were even drawn up to provide a
multi-purpose building on the site instead.
In 1968 the Stewards finally faced the reality that there was little prospect of regeneration and
with increasing maintenance and heating costs, reluctantly decided to demolish the Chapel.
During 1969 the Methodist Chapel was demolished by Mr Ivan Smith and his team. As bricks and
mortar were dismantled a time capsule was uncovered dated 1844. The sealed bottle contained
handwritten documents recording the origin of the Wangford Primitive Methodist Society and the
events leading to building of the ‘Ebenezer’ Chapel in 1844.
Demolishing the ‘Ebenezer’ Chapel 1969
The buried remains in front of the Chapel were exhumed and reinterred in Wangford Parish
Churchyard and the gravestones re-sited there.
The time capsule
A transcript of the time capsule documents is shown below (the original copy is lodged in Suffolk
Records Office, Lowestoft).
Salem Chapel Wangford Suffolk
The foundation of this Chapel was laid by Mr William Gooch of Wangford on
Friday 26th April 1844 – in the presence of a Layer and respectable assembly to whom
the Rev. William Wainwright of Gt. Yarmouth had just preached an energetic and
practical discourse from the latter clause of the 13th verse of the 6th Chapter of the 2nd
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians* - immediately after the deposition of
the stone in the south eastern corner an address was delivered by the Rev. W. Brining
Jnr. Late of the North of England explanatory of the grandeur and the design and
the erection of an earthly temple in which to worship God – of the facts, doctrines,
precepts and ordinances of the Christian Religion, to be declared, enforced and obeyed
in it – showing the necessity of the undertaking and the solemn and absolute
obligation devolving upon the people freely and devoutly to engage in it for its final
accomplishment and exhorting to faithfulness in their honourable and blessed
vocation that Christ might be glorified in the Holy and devout life and soul be saved
by implicit reliance on the just atonement, the divine foundation, the sinners hope,
desire, refuge and home.
The very interesting ceremony then concluded as it commenced with praise and
Hallelujah – God was there and good was done
The Primitive Methodists are a denomination of Christians raised up by divine
providence in the beginning of the present century they succeeded in establishing an
interest in this village in 1823 and in 1827 a Chapel was built for their use though
not belonging to them a Connexional property, in which the glorious Gospel has been
regularly and powerfully preached up to the present time. But by the blessing of the
Lord accompanying the labours of his servants the place has long been too strait for
the worshippers that have attended it which is the joyful reason why we raise a larger
sanctuary. This edifice is erected at but a very short distance from the other – it is
now being settled by law on the Primitive Methodist Connexion and we hope, nay we
are fully confident the Great Head of the Church will prosper us and all his people
more abundantly –
Jah Jehovah, fill the house with thy glory.
The number of the Church Members at this time connected in society at
Wangford is 53 in the whole circuit 630. The increase in the circuit for the last is 60.
The Rev. W. Rudd is the present superintendent the Rev. Messrs. Yeadon and
Wilkinson are his colleagues.
Statistics of the P. M. Connexion taken at the last annual conference held at
Nottingham June 10th – 18th 1843 are as follows –
Members of Society including 905 in British North America are
Sabbath School Teachers
The deaths for the year preceeding
The increase for the year including 242 in British North America was
These societies are scattered through nearly all the counties of England – several
parts of Wales, Scotland, Ireland the Isle of Man, the Isle of Wight, the Norman
Isles and British North America and three Missionaries are on the point of departing
or have already departed for Australia and New Zealand.
It is but 34 years since the first Chapel was established in the County of
Staffordshire under the auspices of the Lord of Hosts who has called His grace to
multiply exceedingly –
To God be all the Glory
Mr Thos. Denny of Kelsale is the builder of this Chapel.
Trustees - Wm. Gooch Wangford
Wm. Bardwell Wangford
Charles Hales Wangford
Wm. Driver Sotterley
Peter Piper Westall
John Davey Stoven
Peter Roe Reydon
James Bloomfield Wangford
Wm. Edwards Frostenden
Henry Brown Uggeshall
Written May 2nd 1844 being the 7th year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen
Victoria sovereign of the British Empire the largest Empire in the World and being
one year after the signal defeat of Sir James Graham and his co-adjuter Bill called the
Factory Education Bill but which was in reality a most infamous attempt to deprive
dissenters of their own children according to their own desires and principles –
‘He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet’
*2 Cor. Chap. 6 verse 13 - Now for a recompense in the sane, (I speak as unto my children,) be
ye also enlarged.
After the demolition of the Chapel the very small congregation continued to meet at the home of
Mr & Mrs Fred Prime, Mill House, Wangford.
All this coincided with the decision in the village to build a multi-purpose Community Centre to
serve the entire village and replace existing dilapidated meeting places that had belonged to
numerous groups in the past, i.e. the Womens’ Institute Hut, the British Legion Room and the old
When the new Community Centre was eventually completed in 1974 the small Methodist
congregation was able to worship in the Community Centre Committee Room. This continued for
some years until numbers reduced further and it became more practical to join the Southwold
Gwen Stockdale neé Prime
Later a row of houses was built on the old chapel site and thought to be named after Peter Piper,
one of the original chapel trustees ‘Pipers Row’.