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Our past

Wesleyan Methodism was introduced into Downley about 1819 or 1820.

 At the 100th Anniversary of the above Church and Sunday School a brief history of its origin, development, and work was compiled from the manuscript of a lecture by the son of one of the first Trustees.

To view the full text now click here, otherwise, here are some extracts:

  • Wesleyan Methodism was introduced into Downley about 1819 or 1820 by Mr. James Treacher. This gentleman came alone and held cottage prayer meetings and services.
  • The first building erected in the year 1824, was very unpretentious, being only 22 feet long by 17 feet wide.
  • The seating accommodation of the Chapel consisted solely of forms. Candles formed the only means of artificial lighting then, and these were placed in specially constructed tins, and hung round the walls.
  • The rain often used to come through so badly as to cause people to shift their seats.
  • The year 1864 saw further alterations to the interior of the Chapel. Small lamps were introduced in place of candles
  • The earliest minutes of the Sunday School are those of December, 1866 On the fly-leaf of one of the early scholars' rolls appears this note :

          "William Butler entered this school in the year of our Lord 1826."
  • In the year 1860 twenty-two classes assembled for instruction Sunday by Sunday in the Chapel. The largest number of scholars ever on the books, was 141 in 1874, and the highest attendance ever recorded was 114 on June 22nd, 1873.


    May, 4th, 1885. -Resolved that "In future all female teachers shall be exempt from fines for the first half-hour in the morning, provided they have the Secretary's consent, and arrived in time to sit with the scholars during service.”