250 years of worship which can be traced back to the founding fathers of Methodism

We’re proud of Salisbury Methodist Church’s rich history. 250 years ago, two men came on horseback and preached in Salisbury. One was the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, who visited Salisbury 40 times and whose signature can be found on our deeds. The other was Sir Francis Asbury, the Founder of American Methodism who came to Salisbury in 1771. As a result of these visits and the people these preachers inspired, our church was born.

To find out more about the key dates in our history and how our church grew, view our timeline.

You can see some of our history brought to life through our Art pages.

In the beginning

Tucked away in North Lincolnshire, the Old Rectory in the small rural town of Epworth, can be regarded as the start of the trail which ultimately brought Methodism to many millions of people throughout Britain and the world. In that Rectory, the Rev Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna, raised a large family including their sons John (1703-91) and Charles (1707-88).

Susanna, often referred to as “the Mother of Methodism,” cared greatly for the sound religious and educational upbringing of her children, but never in her highest hopes could she have foreseen the great work John and Charles were destined to undertake. Although the two brothers became Anglican clergymen, it was their conversion experience in London – John on 24th May, 1738, and Charles three days earlier – that led them into unexpectedly new avenues of Christian work.

While for fifty years John travelled the country in all weathers, principally on horseback, preaching, teaching, encouraging and directing, Charles through his prolific hymn writing “. . . made Methodism a nest of singing birds.”

The scene in Salisbury

When John Wesley paid the first of his many visits to Salisbury in 1738, he found a bustling city which provided a natural centre for trade from the surrounding countryside. Its commerce was still dominated by the cloth trade, but owing to depressions earlier in the century, other crafts had become established, notably lace-making, cutlery and leatherwork. Salisbury was particularly well known for the manufacture of scissors; the good quality of the steel used apparently being attributed to the strong alkali content of the water.

The city boasted shops where foreign luxuries such as tea, china and carpets could be bought. There were bad points too. The open drainage ditches down the centre of the streets were full of rubbish, with raw sewage being drained straight into the River Avon. Although street lights were installed in 1727 they were too few to deter pickpockets and criminals who lay in wait for passers-by in the darkened alleyways. Prostitution and drunkenness were common.

In 1736 Westley Hall, John Wesley’s brother-in-law came to the city as a curate at Fisherton Anger. He lived with his wife in Fisherton Street and it was there that John Wesley visited his mother who was staying at the house in February 1738. He came again in June to tell his mother about the momentous religious experience he had undergone on 24th May, and by 1741 the foundations for the new Methodist work were taking shape. There followed a domestic row in 1748 when Westley Hall and John Wesley disagreed. During the next two years a small group of Methodists met above a shop in Greencroft Street. John Wesley preached there in 1750 and the first Methodist society in central southern England was established.

This was obviously not a suitable venue and so a plot of land was purchased in St Edmund’s Church Street in 1758. An indenture for the land was assigned to John Wesley and local businessmen. The plot had on it two messuages, or tenements and gardens. This new building was erected in the gardens behind the dwellings.

The indenture for the land was signed by seven local men and was leased for 1000 years at an annual rent of one peppercorn – if demanded. The signatories were:

  • John Wesley – clerk
  • John Marsh – dyer
  • William Westcott the elder – maltster
  • William Westcott the younger – gentleman
  • William Whitchurch – tucker (fuller)
  • William Symonds – tailor
  • John Warfield – carpenter
  • George Smith – yeoman (small freehold farmer)
  • George Spencer – shoemaker


St Edmund’s Church Street is in Griffin Chequer which at that time was in the poor end of the city. There was a water ditch down one side of the street and it was the most easterly chequer to have this. The next chequer further north is Vanners Chequer which was poorer still.

John Wesley recorded in his Journal his pleasure with the new meeting house and described it as “the most complete in England. It strikes everyone of any taste that sees it, not with any singular part but an inexpressible something in the whole.”

In September 1759 when the chapel was opened Wesley preached there. The Hampshire Militia were in town and their behaviour was so disruptive that Wesley commented, “such brutish behaviour have I seldom seen.” Over the next few years Wesley visited Salisbury almost annually usually during the first week in October.

Growth and change in the 18th century

As well as Methodism, things were also progressing in the city of Salisbury. In 1763 inoculations against smallpox started in a smallpox hospital at Bugmore under the patronage of Lord Folkestone, later 1st Lord Radnor. By the end of the eighteenth century Edward Jenner had found that the cowpox virus could be used for safe immunisation. A meeting held in 1766 supported by the corporation, bishops and local dignitaries set out to provide the first infirmary in Wiltshire.

In 1766 Lord Radnor gave £500 for a society to promote the “relief of the sick, the lame and the poor.” More money was raised by subscription and two years later the new infirmary was opened. A few cottages which fronted Fisherton Street just over the River Avon from the city, had been bought and used as a temporary hospital until the new one was built behind them and the first patients admitted in 1767. The cottages were then demolished and provided a pleasant area in front of the new building which was designed by the Bath architect, John Wood and opened in 1771.Ealth

The old 200ft Cathedral belfry spire was pulled down in 1768 and the belfry itself demolished in 1790. It had become a place used by local people of ill repute and was in a fairly unsafe state. Meanwhile Wesley’s comment on the city’s Methodist congregation in 1770s was that it “was alive. How pleasing it would be to be always with such.”

The city was busy and prosperous. The Duke of York visited in 1762 and again, probably in 1773. Between 1776 and 1783 John Marsh, a man of many talents one of which was composing music, lived here. Benjamin Banks, a violin maker, had premises in Catherine Street and a London shop too. Bishop Seth Ward (founder member of The Royal Society) brought with him to Salisbury a reputation in astronomy and mathematics and had friendships with Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton and Samuel Pepys.

A map of Salisbury in 1797 shows that there were several other dissenting places of worship including Presbyterian, Baptist and Quaker.

Francis Asbury

Francis Asbury became the superintendent minister in the Salisbury circuit in 1770. The circuit then covered a large area stretching from Chichester to Shaftesbury, including the Isle of Wight. We do not know how often he preached at the chapel in St Edmund’s Church Street but he attended the Conference of John Wesley’s preachers in Bristol in 1771 and responded to his appeal for missionaries to go to America. He was one of the two ministers chosen and has often been called “The father of American Methodism”, becoming its first bishop. A portrait of Francis Asbury hangs in the north corridor.

In the 1780s Captain Thomas Webb, one of the most colourful of early Methodists, added impetus to the growth of the congregation. He had been converted in Bristol in 1764 and had been to America and brought back a picture of the Methodist fire spreading through the New Lands. His preaching was remarked on by Wesley in August 1785. “On Saturday 13th I went on to Salisbury. As Captain Webb had just been there, I endeavoured to avail myself of the fire which he seldom fails to kindle. The congregation in the evening was very large and seemed to be greatly affected.”


Francis Asbury, Bishop of American Methodists

The last visit of John Wesley

On 27th September 1790 John Wesley preached in Salisbury for the last time. In his Journal he says of the occasion, “I do not know that ever I saw the house so crowded before with high and low, rich and poor” – surely a good cross section of the population of the city. In February 1791 John Wesley preached his final sermon at Wesley’s Chapel, City Road, London and he died on 2nd March aged 88.

Growth and Enlargement in the 19th Century

There is no record of what the first Methodist chapel looked like in St Edmund’s Church Street, but it was demolished in 1810 and a new classical building erected which still forms the core of the church. It has been enlarged and altered in stages. The new building cost £3,920 and was opened on 26th June 1811. An interesting account of the opening is given in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal for the 1st July, 1811:

“On Wednesday last the newly erected Methodist Chapel in this City was opened for Divine Service. Appropriate and impressive discourses were delivered in the morning and evening by the Rev Joseph Benson, of London; the Rev J Chettle of Southampton preached in the afternoon; and the Rev T Newton of Southampton and Rev H Cheverton of Newbury assisted in the services of the day. The congregations were numerous and respectable, and the collection at the door amounted to £77.”

Methodism was growing steadily in Salisbury and a Sunday School was started in St Crispin’s Hall, now part of the Pheasant Inn, in 1798. It was moved to a room in Gigant Street until 1815 when the old Presbyterian buildings in Salt Lane were given to the Wesleyans for use as a Sunday School. There were 100 children attending in 1805.

A Sunday School banner, showing that the Sunday School was formed in 1798, was found carefully stowed away under the stage in the old hall when the building was being cleared ready for demolition. It has now been cleaned to be used on special occasions.

The population of Salisbury in 1801 was 7,660 but by the middle of the century it had risen to 9,455. A new county goal was opened in 1822 on ground now occupied by St Paul’s roundabout. It had 96 cells, was cleaner and better organised, but cost £20,000 to build. The last hanging at the prison took place in 1855 and the stocks disappeared from the market place around the same time.

Travel by road and rail

A regular stage coach service between London and Salisbury began early in the 19th Century and by 1840 four coaches a day left for London.

By 1848 the trains arrived joining Salisbury first to Southampton and then to London. The first railway accident was in 1856 when the stoker and the engineer were killed. The worst railway accident was on 1st July 1906. An express train left the rails as it passed through the station and over the Fisherton Street bridge. Twenty eight lives were lost.

In an attempt to make Salisbury accessible by water, there was a plan by the Southampton and Salisbury Navigation Company to build a canal but unfortunately this was abandoned at Alderbury. There were construction problems with a tunnel at Southampton and a lack of finance. Early in Salisbury’s history the River Avon had been navigable down to Christchurch.

Health and Caring

Almshouses provided help as best they could even to residents in the workhouses. There was religious and political unrest, and agricultural riots. Wages were low and unemployment common. In 1849 cholera struck the city and 234 people died in six months. The water channels which had been designed to bring fresh water through the city became open sewers. When it was realised that this was the cause of the infection they were filled in and new deep sewers were installed and fresh waterworks constructed, but this work was not fully completed until 1875.

Mental health was much better served. At the end of the eighteenth century William Finch had set up a private hospital at the Old Manor in Wilton Road and his son started another hospital at Laverstock House in 1813 which accommodated 100 patients. It was a kind and progressive institution and some patients helped the local villages with gardening.

The population were patriotic and the Royal Family treated with much respect, despite George III being considered mad. He was suffering from porphyria and the Prince Regent was not well.   However, the death of Princess Charlotte of Wales following childbirth caused an outpouring of grief and the Mayor and Justices of the City and the clergy met to consider how the city should mark the day of her funeral. Shops were shut for the day 17th November 1817 and services held in all churches. The Salisbury Journal reports: “The Methodist Chapel in Church Street was particularly crowded and the Rev Mr Woolmer delivered to his auditors there a most eloquent discourse, which evidently affected, in no small, degree, their feelings. The text of his sermon (which has been much admired) was taken from the 5th chapter of Lamentations of Jeremiah 15th and 16th verses: The joy of our heart ceased, our dance is turned into mourning. The crown has fallen from our head, woe unto us that we have sinned.”

Development of the Methodist churches

In 1827 Salisbury was regularly visited by preachers from the Primitive Methodists in Motcombe. Their first meeting place was a room in the yard of The Old George Inn, but later the congregation moved to a chapel on the south side of Fisherton Street. Primitive Methodism had a distinctive ministry of open-air preaching and prayer meetings. In 1831 Salisbury was made the centre of a Primitive Methodist Circuit.

By 1833 the Primitive Methodists had opened 17 places of worship. The New Primitive Methodist Mission had a room in New Street for services and a small society was formed.


Salisbury Wesleyan Methodist Church 1811

The Wesleyan Methodists in Church Street enlarged their church in 1835, extended it westwards and added vestries. It was re-opened on Thursday 24th September 1835 by the Rev William Atherton of Bath, and on the following Sunday the Rev S P Burgess of Bournemouth preached. The collections on that day amounted to £108 which was a very large sum of money in those days. Gas lighting had come to Salisbury in 1832 and was probably installed in the new building. Electricity did not arrive until 1858.

However, in 1851 there was a major split in the Church Street congregation and as a result a Wesleyan Reform Chapel was opened in Milford Street, later becoming a member of the United Methodist Free Church. It was notably supported by local trades, a baker, a grocer and a tailor, similar support to that which had been given to Church Street at its foundation.

The breakaway left Church Street with serious financial problems and a financial statement for 1852 reads: “The chapel was built in 1811 at a cost of £3,920.18s   The original debt after all donations had been taken into account was £2,632.9s.4d Present debt is £1,667. There was an increase in debt in 1835 when the cost of enlargement was £962 but the subscriptions towards it were only £472.”

At a Quarterly Meeting in 1852 Mr William Davis left in disgust when the meeting changed the practice of providing its members with beer and served tea instead.

In 1851 there was a Religious Census. St Edmund’s Church Street Wesleyan Methodists showed accommodation of 280 free seats, 781 other seats and attendance in the morning of 370, in the afternoon 150, and in the evening 425. There were 600 sittings to let at 6d, ls.6d and a few at 2s.6d per quarter – and 300 free. If all seats were let, the income would be £130. There was no organ. There were however, three tenements connected with the Chapel which had been bought with the land. Could these houses be sold to raise money? This was decided against, “as it would be inconvenient and houses are difficult to sell in Salisbury and would only fetch £250.”

In spite of the good size of the congregation in 1862 the financial situation was still bad, and an application to the Wesleyan Chapel Committee was made for an annual or final grant toward reduction of the debt. The annual income and expenditure totals were £97. 7s with a deficiency of £20. 14s 5d.

A new Primitive Methodist Chapel was opened on the north side of Fisherton Street in 1869 and the congregation moved from the south side. It was in use until 1917 when the new church in Dews Road was opened. The old chapel was sold to become the Salisbury Playhouse until the new Playhouse was built.

The church in St. Edmund’s Church Street was altered again in 1870, towers were added and a semi-circular colonnaded front, and the West front was rendered and a pulpit installed. It was thought that John Wesley had preached from this pulpit but it is unlikely as it was probably from the original 1811 church.


Interior view before 1993

The United Methodist Free Church in Milford Street was demolished and rebuilt in 1879 as the acoustics, ventilation and lighting had been poor in the original building.

In this year too, Church Street bought five messuages (or tenements) in Greencroft Street from Oliver Maggs for £500. These were demolished and a new schoolroom was built at the rear of Church Street with a frontage to Greencroft Street. The Sunday School was transferred here from the Salt Lane premises in 1880 and a new school hall was built at the rear of the chapel.

Nine years later further extensive alterations and renovations were made to Church Street including the clearance of the area in front of the building, the erection of an entrance porch and side entrances to the gallery. Inside, new seating was installed, the old box pews being replaced by long, open pews.

In 1889 the chapel was reopened after the installation of new stained glass windows.   Cathedral tints replaced plain glass and two openings at the ground floor were filled with commemorative stained glass. One window is in memory of Rev William Tranter and the other to Mr George Truckle.

Rev William Tranter 1778 – 1879

Rev Tranter was born near Madeley, Shropshire on 1st May 1778, entering the ministry in 1803. As a preacher he was plain, earnest, powerful and impressive. He took great pains in preparing his sermons and many possess considerable merit. He served in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumberland before retiring in Salisbury in 1846 giving a further thirty years preaching in the circuit. He continued to preach to within a few years of his death at the age of 100. The central panel of the window represents Christ the Good Shepherd, the other portions being floriated designs. The window was generously given by John C F Roe, a relative from London Road, Salisbury.

George Truckle 1802-1882

Mr Truckle was the oldest Methodist local preacher in the Salisbury circuit and died just after he reached the age of 80. He was especially remembered for his very successful efforts in raising, with the help of some others, over £3,000 to liquidate the debts on all the 27 chapels in the Wesleyan circuit. This would amount to well over £150,000 now, a remarkable achievement. It was decided that a tablet should be erected to his memory but no record of this can be found. Later, in 1884, as reported in The Salisbury Times, a window was installed in his memory instead. The central panel represents St Peter, the others being foliated. Money for the window was raised by his friends throughout the circuit.

Both windows were designed by H G Murray, made by Messrs Belham and Co of Buckingham Palace Road, London, and were installed at the same time.

Education, Business and a Celebration

Education was important to the town as well as to the churches and the Education Acts of 1870 and 1872 made education compulsory. There were over 2,000 children needing basic education. Three new church schools and Bishop Wordsworth School were all opened in 1890. There was also a need to provide books. The foundation stone for the new library in Chipper Lane was laid in 1904.

By now the population of the city was over 17,000 and rising. Salisbury, at that period was still a city of skills and crafts. At the end of the century the trade directory reflects this by noting that the city had 25 bakers, 25 pastry cooks, 22 shoemakers, 13 hatters, 9 breweries, 9 piano tuners, 8 coachbuilders and 3 millers, as well as saddlers, dyers, a cork cutter, bell hanger, cabinet maker, coopers, wheelwrights, smiths, sweeps, a soda water manufacturer, cutlers, drapers and a pawnbroker.

Following the turn of the century, the Wesleyan Methodists in Church Street was very fortunate to receive a cash gift from Mr Frank Snelgar which enabled the Young People’s Institute, a spacious hall with additional small rooms, to be built in 1912.

A new organ by Peter Conacher of Huddersfield costing £1,200 was installed in 1930. It had three manuals but when installed only two were functional. Tongue in cheek tales are told of visiting organists, vainly hammering on the bottom keyboard of solid keys. The organ has since been updated and all three manuals are now working and, of course, the organ sounds better than ever.

The Salisbury Primitive Methodist Circuit celebrated its centenary in 1927. A special Sunday service was held at Dews Road, on 10th April and a Great Meeting for Praise and Thanksgiving on 17th April. These celebrations started with a public tea (charge 9d a head) at 4.30, and ended at 8.15 after numerous addresses from notable local Methodists.

The move towards unity in Methodism

The United Methodist Church was formed in 1907 with the amalgamation of the United Methodist Free Church, the Methodist New Connexion and the Bible Christian Church. These were independent groups in different parts of England that believed greater emphasis should be given to bible teaching and lay leadership. Their first Conference made no attempt to undermine local customs or force local amalgamations.

An historic milestone for Methodists throughout Britain took place in 1932 when Wesleyan, Primitive and United Methodist Churches formally united into one Church. This “national” event eventually resulted in a dedication service being held at Church Street on 15th September 1949 when the Wesleyan Methodist Church Street, United Methodist Milford Street, Primitive Methodist Dews Road and Woodfalls circuits amalgamated to form a new circuit consisting of 52 churches stretching from Amesbury in the north to Fordingbridge in the south.

Readjusting after war

A memorial to the church members who lost their lives during the 1914-18 war hangs at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the organ loft. There is neither a record of church members who served in the 1939-45 war nor any memorial to those who did not return. During that war, Church Street played its part by having some of its rooms rented to the ARP (Civil Defence) organisation from 1939 onward. On 5th July 1946 a grand dinner was held the church hall to celebrate the end of the war.

The congregation had dwindled in the late 1930s and “the fine old building” which seated 800 people often had as few as 50 at a service. Debt was again accumulating and there were proposals to close the church. Then Rev G Arnold West came from Darlington to be superintendent to the circuit and gave special attention to Church Street. His ministry was obviously inspiring and Sunday evening services enthralled crowds, debts were paid and the building completely renovated. There were fears that this new vitality would be lost when he left after 7 years. However, Church Street was very fortunate again as Rev Ernest Dover was appointed and the membership continued to rise. Morning services were popular now, with an average of 60 Sunday School children attending. Lots of leisure clubs were started; badminton, youth club, Guides, Scouts, Brownies and Cubs. The older generation was not forgotten. There was the Senior Guild, the Over Sixty Club with 200 members and missionary work.

As the city of Salisbury expanded into Harnham, it was thought that there was a need to provide a local Methodist Church to serve the growing population. A piece of land was bought and a small church was built in Saxon Road in 1952. A hall was built to provide accommodation for social activities and opened in 1954.

Dews Road church also needed space for social and fellowship functions and their new hall was opened on 7th September 1966.

Anglican-Methodist Covenant

A move towards the visible unity of the Christian churches began in 1925. For over fifty years various consultations and schemes have been proposed to bring about church union among Protestants. The division caused by history and tradition kept the established and “free” churches apart while British culture and society evolved. In 2003 the Church of England and the Methodist Church entered into a Covenant to work together to achieve visible unity. Unity was not to be interpreted as uniformity. The implementation of the Covenant is under regular scrutiny while local parishes and churches grow together in their common understanding and Christian witness. In Salisbury the congregations of St Thomas’s Church and the Salisbury Methodist Church worship together from time to time, with joint activities with the United Reformed Church.

Other stained glass

In December 1950 a Children’s Corner was opened in the southeast corner of the sanctuary, used by boys and girls during morning worship. The subject of the stained glass is the Good Shepherd. At the bicentenary of the church on 25th October 1959 another stained glass window was unveiled by Rev Ernest Dover to commemorate two distinguished members, Mr G C Whateley, Mayor of Salisbury 1952, and Mr H J Annetts, Mayor of Salisbury 1953. The subject of that window is the Pilgrim’s Progress. Supporting windows were added in 1973. Both windows were removed into storage after the redevelopment of the premises and remodelled in 1995 for fitting in Room 1.

Reorganisation in 1984

As congregations were declining in some of the city churches, it was considered better to have one single Methodist church. After much discussion it was decided to unite in Salisbury Methodist Church on the historic site in the city, St Edmund’s Church Street. An invitation was sent by Rev Gordon Turner in April 1986 to some church members to form a committee to manage the project of redeveloping the premises. This became known as the JCB (Joint Church Building group) and consisted of:

  • Rev Gordon Turner – superintendent minister
  • Mr Graham Annetts – retailer
  • Mr Nigel Brooks – solicitor
  • Mr (E) Ted Bull – aeronautical engineer
  • Mr Graeme Davis – aeronautical engineer
  • Mr John James – civil engineer
  • Mrs Catherine O’Sullivan – Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Mr Roger Watkins – building projects buyer

The group had been given authority to “consult and co-opt” (particularly through working groups and in consultation with members of the congregation). Replacement of some of the original members was also required; Davida Bull, Rev. Norman Baker, Rev. Peter Brant and Rev. David Grinter replaced them.

An architect, Christopher Lelliott, and a Surveyor, Roger Trubshaw, were appointed by December 1986 and a presentation of the scheme was made to the Salisbury Methodist Circuit General Purposes Committee in January 1987 by Graeme Davis and Nigel Brooks.

The architect’s proposal was issued by August 1987 and presented to the Southampton District Synod in September. An appeal committee was formed to raise money for the project which was expected to cost around a million pounds. Structural work would cost about £750,000 and fixtures and fittings – including moving the organ – another £250,000. Money was raised from the sale of Dews Road Methodist Church, Milford Street Methodist Church and the small chapel in Harnham. Grants were also received from central Methodist funds and the Rank Organisation.

There were a huge number of decisions to be made and additional planning groups were convened to manage critical aspects of the overall project.  There was need for alternative accommodation to be arranged during the redevelopment (led by Colin Campbell), for a fund-raising group (later renamed The Forward Fund) with David Ensor, Tony Ings and Mervyn Liversidge taking leading roles.  The Property Stewards (particularly Kelvin Dean) were also involved.

The Forward Fund, organised by the local fundraising committee, was substantially increased by £30,000 from the proceeds of the SMC Shop. The economic downturn in the 1990s led to many empty shops in the city centre. The idea was to use an empty shop to sell second hand goods of any nature. The public donated costume jewellery, china and glass, bicycles, exercise machines, books and pictures etc. Shop assistants from the congregation volunteered to do a two-hour shift between 10 am and 4 pm, during each April to October in 1992-3.

In July 1991 Asbury Associates Limited was registered as a company limited by guarantee to administer the contract and VAT. The directors were:

Mr. Graham Annetts, Rev Peter Brant (superintendent minister), Mr. Nigel Brookes, Mrs. Davida Bull, Mr Colin Campbell, Mr. Graeme Davis, Mr. David Ensor, Rev David Grinter (minister), Mr. A (Tony) Ings and Mr John James

All these people were involved in the project, making major decisions about the choice of architect and minor decisions about door furniture etc. Everything had to be specified and selected for the new premises. Meetings often went on until very late in the evening, even till 11.30 pm.

Worship was not possible while the site was occupied by the builders. An alternative venue for Sunday worship was organised at the Salisbury College in Southampton Road by Colin Campbell. It took a year to complete the new premises.

Wilshiers, a construction firm from Winchester, were instructed and the building started. As it would have been impossible for the congregation to witness the laying of the Foundation Stone, it was brought to the morning service at the College on Easter Sunday 1992. It was dedicated by Rev Nigel Collinson, Chairman of the Southampton District and later President of the Methodist Conference. The Foundation Stone was inserted at the rear entrance of the new premises. Two holes were drilled into the stone to receive two Time Capsules, inserted by Mr Christopher Lelliot, Architect, and the Rev Peter Brant, Superintendent Minister, Salisbury Methodist Circuit.


Inserting the Time Capsules into the Foundation Stone

In Time Capsule A

Church Newsletter – April 1992

History of Salisbury Methodist Church by Davida Bull

7000th edition of the Methodist Recorder, 13th February 1992

Salisbury Journal, selected pages 2nd April 1992

The Times, selected pages, 11th April 1991

In Time Capsule B

“Buried Treasure” appeal for the Forward Fund Shop

“Here I raise my Ebenezer” appeal

“The future is in your hands” appeal

Order of service for dedication of Foundation Stone

Salisbury Circuit Plan, May-August 1991

Letters from some church members to whoever may open the time capsule – from Michael and Jenny Franklin, Ray Annetts, Davida Bull, David Ensor, Mary Castles, George Parkinson, and Philip Dean (aged 10)

List of Joint Church Building Committee

Photographs of exterior and interior of former building

Newspaper cuttings from Methodist Recorder:-

“Salisbury new era” church closed 28th November 1991

“Silver lining at Salisbury”, church shop, 13th February 1992

“Banner brought to light”, old Sunday School banner, 5th March 1992

Sketch plans of building development

Quantity Surveyor’s Financial Review No.4, 6th April 1991

New furniture was needed for the church, some comfortable chairs to replace the pews, a new communion table and a pulpit. The oak furniture was designed and made by Illingworth and Partridge of Milbourne Port. A major focal point was needed in the church now the full gallery and raised pulpit were demolished. A colourful ecclesiastical design was commissioned from Angela Dewar and Gisela Banbury, ecclesiastical embroiderers, to hang on the west wall. It is entitled The Creation Embroidery and is displayed in seven panels of appliqué silk.

Into the 21st Century after 250 years

The redesigned spaces of the sanctuary, hall and meeting rooms provide the facilities to further the mission of the church and to grow in the community. There are many social groups and youth activities which use the building. The revenue from the hire of the premises, a single room for a training course or the whole building for a public enquiry, enables the premises to be kept in good order for future generations.

Charles Wesley called Methodists to sing, “See how great a flame aspires, kindled by a spark of grace.” This history describes the rise and fall of Methodism’s influence among the population of this cathedral city as the social changes of the generations made their impact. It is also the untold story of those thousands, high and low, rich and poor, young and old, who have found and expressed their Christian faith through Salisbury Methodist Church over 250 years.