Founding of a Wesleyan faith is rooted with members of a clergy family named Wesley. Nicknamed as Methodists, it was an Eleazor Boot who then pioneered such newer faiths into Hucknall Huthwaite.
Young Eleazor Boot reached his own conversion by 1807. His local Wesleyan preachings firstly created a Hardstoft chapel before then extending arranged meetings into Huthwaite. Roomed in cottages once sited upon the Royal Oak Yard atop Blackwell Road, his growing band of Huthwaite followers are then credited with building our first known village Church.
Cornering Huthwaite Market Place as illustrated by an 1835 map, the first chapel was opened in 1815 at a cost of £262.1s.2d., with first sermon preached by Daniel Taylor from Mansfield. Loyal Wesleyan services continued there upwards 75 years, outliving founder Eleazor, whose body in 1861 was interred lovingly beside his wife, whom he previously buried inside this original chapel yard. Eleazor and Rose were later respectfully relaid to rest again together in Blackwell churchyard. During renovations to site here the latest and current Co-oerative store, past residents gave last living memory of old head stones set into paving which had fronted a newly built Hutton's shop, replacing the far earlier chapel grounds.
Accounts depict Eleazor being of strict character, especially against youthful pranksters. He struck off lists some class members for not making up due payments. In 1849 this caused divisions between followers who, led by John Tagg split to form a Huthwaite Free Wesleyan Church. Eleazor did nevertheless maintain the popularity of Wesleyanism, while other village Methodist factions began attracting more God fearing workers who felt distanced from wealthier rule portrayed by Church of England members of Sutton parish.
The Boot family did relocate to Huthwaite. Son John and then John Thomas extended their family profession as mineral surveyors of influence here in the local coal mines. Afforded retirement in his grandsons stately built home addressing The Orchards, Eleazor was to be buried alongside Rose in his chapel grounds. In 1869, John Thomas also renovated the aging building, but having relaid his grandparents to rest in Blackwell Church yard, this property was sold off after new larger premises were gained.
Above postcard reveals the new Wesleyan chapel which was opened on 6th June 1890 by Rev C H Kelly. This prominent Sutton Road landmark has witnessed many changes, but remains well recognisable today. Free Press reportage can now reveal how the property was greatly extended. Adding five class rooms to accommodate around 350 scholars, equipped with modern heating and ventilation, the Hucknall Huthwaite Wesleyan Sunday School was opened June 1893 at an additional cost of £1,000. Gaining access off Old Fall Street, full extensions completed 1902 had brought total building costs upto around £2,500.
Functional though it proved, the work did little to enhance rear side views, whereas the chapel frontage has long presented a familiar landmark. Facing the main village highway it became frequently photographed and locally known as the Terminus. Such reference dates from when the 1907 Mansfield electric tramway connected Hucknall Huthwaite, whose rails here ended as again shared by picture postcard from Dr K Hill.
Internal fittings largely finished 1939 when installations and dedication of a refurbished organ managing to mark this chapels 50th year in musical Jubilee celebrations.
Hucknall Huthwaite Wesleyan followers started ever popular annual Whit walk parades. Schooling and many families long kept up basic christian traditions, although regularity of church going did dimish as home entertainment reached affordable majority. Back in 1932 all remaining methodist factions, locally comprising of United and Primitive, plus this Wesleyan Church, all united under singular union forming todays Methodist Church. Individually, Wesleyanism was then lost in England, but does find revival in America.
Readers have shared fond memories of attending this historic chapel, where I once played shepherd in a John Davis nativity play through christian schooling. Actual year of closure recalled by Mrs Enid Jones was 1991, after celebrating its centenary opening. Congregations then joined the last remaining Methodist Church on Sherwood Street, presumably chosen after that building had most recently received extensive renovation and modernisation afforded by a mining subsidence claim.
This neglected building soon fell into a bad state of disrepair, and while spiralling work costs dismissed many proposed suggestions for major conversion, its idle state eventually almost reached full site demolition. A last minute call brought surprising adoption by visiting members of a Greek Orthodox faith.
It was argued such membership was by no means representative of our local community. In their dedicated work however, aided by National Lottery funding they managed major building restorations that retains its nostalgic frontage, still well used since transferring dedication to Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Written 03 Sep 03 Revised 19 Sep 12 © by Gary Elliott