The Forest of Dean.

Bygone Days

Bygone Days


A Short History Of the
Cinderford Wesley Methodist Church

Wesley Methodist Church 
before the new building 
work completed 1997. Beginnings

The Methodist Society that came to be Wesley Church began in 1824 when Robert Meredith petitioned the (Methodist) Conference on behalf of certain colliery owners and industrialists who were trying to consolidate Methodism in the Forest of Dean.

The petition itself is an interesting document, made on behalf of those calling themselves "The Methodist Society of Colliers in the Forest of Dean." It would seem that in 1822 a local preacher had begun to live in the area and, through occasional services over three months, a Society of some thirty persons was formed and "this might have been a hundred had there been regular preaching". The petition tells of "a great moral change" that had overtaken the local men:

    "Our state was more like that of lawless heathens but now we have learnt to fear God, honour the king and obey his laws. We no longer lay claim to His Majesty's timber or deer; nor do we attack or murder his keepers...Religion softens our warlike disposition and inspires us with love and peace. Hence we are no longer a terror to neighbouring towns, neither breaking their bones nor shedding their blood. Horrid blasphemies are changed into loud hosannas and instead of the loud drunkard's song we join in hymns of praise."

The interior (from a sepia 
photograph of the interior 
that hangs in the Fellowship 
Room). As a result, the first Wesleyan Chapel for Cinderford was built on Littledean Hill. [This building is now a house and the date "1824" can be seen above a window.] At this time Cinderford was in the Monmouth Circuit. Debt was incurred - £150.00 - and a great effort was needed to clear it. So successful was this chapel, however, [Timothy Mountjoy, one of the Forest's great characters who was born on Littledean Hill, recalled years later in his autobiography that some 200 people attended] that by 1848 a larger building was needed. It was decided to build closer to the centre of the town.

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