Methodists & Handbells

Methodists & Handbells

The children from the Sunday School were asked to lay bricks when the
Schoolroom was added but instead of their names being inscribed on
the brick an oak scroll was to be placed inside the Schoolroom

Halton Holegate Methodist Chapel

Related by Mr Ivan and Mrs Carol Clough

The Chapel was built in 1837 and the Schoolroom added in 1937 when Rev E H Metherel was the minister, Mr Albert James Clough (A.J.) was the Secretary, and Mr Albert Ernest Odlin (Uncle Bert) the Treasurer.

Mid-week and Sunday Centenary celebrations took place, 300 hymn sheets were purchased, and additional forms were acquired from Great Steeping friends, so the hired tent that held the congregation must have been quite a spectacle in the village for those days.

The children from the Sunday School were asked to lay bricks when the Schoolroom was added but instead of their names being inscribed on the brick an oak scroll was to be placed inside the Schoolroom, and to this day inside the Chapel is a plaque with all the names of those who laid bricks for the foundations of the Schoolroom.

In 1962 renovations took place, after which a Thanksgiving service and a weekend of celebrations were held.

1983 saw the installation of a new roof covering for the Chapel, and the Schoolroom also had a new roof covering due to an error by the roofers. In November of the same year the Chairman of the Lincoln Methodist District, Rev Alan J. Davis, M.A., B.A., conducted services to celebrate the event. The Chairman for the afternoon service was the Chairman of East Lindsey District Council, Mr Len Bark, who was also our E.L.D.C. representative for the Halton Holegate Ward.

In 1986 a piece of land was purchased at the site of the Chapel for a car park which has proved invaluable for people to park their vehicles when attending the Chapel for Services, and various other events, especially during the dark winter evenings.

In 1996, under the guidance of the Superintendent Minister, Rev Alan Robson, it was decided to alter the inside of the Chapel by removing the pews, the inside porch, the pulpit, and the communion rail, and then removing the steep sloping floor and replacing this with a level floor, and covering this floor, and the Schoolroom floor, with a durable carpet. A fitted kitchen, indoor toilets, double glazed windows in the Schoolroom, electricity re-wiring, a new heating system and new comfortable chairs were also included in the renovations, together with the removal of a lot of old flaking plaster on the Chapel walls, and completely redecorating the whole of the inside of the building. Due to the majority of the ‘hard labour’ being done by volunteers, the sale of the wooden pews and the old radiators, and only paying for professional help where necessary, the whole project cost less than £20,000. In the October a grand re-opening took place with a concert by Spilsby and District Choir, when the conductor was Miss Jane Parker.

The Methodist Chapel Altar

Hatch to the kitchen, door leading to the toilets

When further funds became available due to fund raising events, the double doors to the Schoolroom were replaced in 2006, while 2008 saw a necessary new roof covering for the kitchen and toilets. The two arched windows in the Chapel were also replaced in 2008, the two side windows in the Chapel were replaced in 2012 and the replacement of the double doors to the Chapel took place in 2014.

A sound system was installed in the Chapel in 2015 by Keystone Sound Systems Limited, and this has proved invaluable for those hard of hearing who attend the weekly Sunday services and concerts.

As well as being a Place of Worship the Chapel is used for Weddings, Christenings, and Funerals, and provides a much-needed community space for the village, and the Schoolroom is available for Parish Council meetings, Ladies Club evenings, the U3A Singing For Fun nights and coffee mornings, to name but a few.

Halton Holegate Church of England Primary School have also used the Chapel for a variety of productions and Christmas parties for many years with the wonderful sight of the schoolchildren ‘snaking’ down the road in their costumes and Christmas finery, and in 1991, when the School House was converted into a classroom and office accommodation, classes were held in the Methodist Schoolroom.

The building is also very much appreciated for its space which has been utilized for many years in holding Concerts, Sausage & Mash suppers (annually since 1991), Spring meals – with entertainment included! – some of which are joint ventures with St Andrew’s Church. The way the small, but dedicated army of volunteers manage to dish up, serve, clear away and wash up with military precision, is a sight to behold!

Harvest time at the Chapel

Halton Holegate Handbell Ringers

The group was started in 1979 with nine ringers of “varying musical ability”.

The brass bells, with leather handles, were sourced from the Loughborough Bell Foundry.

The foundry has been in existence since 1859, and is home to historic bellmakers John Taylor & Co.

It has cast over 25,000 bells that are still in existence in 100 countries around the world, including the ones in the church tower.

Ladies Handbell Ringers – Left to right – Pat Odlin, Gill Lawson, Joan Shaw, Marion Gray, Janet Bryan, Edith Calvert, Christina Holmes, Ann Marsh, Charlotte Ely.

A wide variety of music was played including hymns, Carols, folk songs, traditional songs, and longer pieces such as Handel’s Water Music.

At the time of the group’s conception the set of 24 bells was half privately owned and half by St Andrews Church.

Full set of church handbells

In November 2019 at a St Andrew’s Day Patronal service Mr Robert Shaw donated the privately owned bells to the church, in memory of his late wife Mrs Joan Shaw. The full set of handbells was dedicated during the service by Rev Canon Peter Coates.

St Andrews Male Handbell Ringers in 1902, outside the south porch. Back row Left to right: F. Shaw, W.Balderson, W. Haw, C.P.Disbrowe (Rector), M.Shaw,  W. Grantham, F. Basker. Front row: Left to right W.M. Cussons, E.D. Baker (Churchwardens)

Many of the ringers were also part of the ringing team for the church tower bells.