Members and friends from Frodsham Methodist Church were fortunate enough to be invited by Matt Ollier, Director of Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, to be presented with a time capsule from 1876 inserted into the original Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel, on Main St, Frodsham. The time capsule was found behind a stone in the front of the building as contractors were making room for parking space under the main Chapel building.
Reverend Denise Harding, Minister in Pastoral Charge of Frodsham Methodist Church, and Rev'd. Bernard Dodd, retired Minister living in Frodsham, were presented with the time capsule on the steps of the sensitively converted Chapel. Rev'd. Bernard Dodd was able to show those present that he still had possession of a Preaching Plan from 1961 showing that he preached there for the Sunday School Anniversary in that year. Rev'd. Bernard said “It has brought back memories of the previous life of the Chapel, and my preaching here”. Within the sealed glass jar was to be found a copy of the Warrington Guardian dated 18th November 1876, a Primitive Methodist Journal of Denominational and General News dated November 16th 1876, and on the back of a printed Preaching Plan from 1876 was a hand written list of the Trustees of the new Chapel, with the names of the architect and builder too.
Rev'd. Denise Harding was also able to share something of interest with the architects, and with Andrew Hayes of Your Move Estate Agency of Frodsham. This was an original parchment of the mortgage deeds dated April 1877 between the Marquis of Cholmondeley and the Trustees listed in the time capsule. This mortgage was in the amount of £400, and indicated a 999 year lease on the land the Chapel was to be built on, with an annual rent of £3.14.4 to be paid twice yearly. Andrew was fascinated by the indenture that was shown to him “We just don’t see history like this anymore since the registration of properties and land at the Land Registry. These documents often have no legal purpose any more, but are fascinating historical documents, particularly for the people of Frodsham as some of the names of the Trustees are local well known surnames”.
Since 1987 the Chapel has been in use as offices, until the last couple of years when plans have been progressed for the conversion of the building into four town houses – two in the main Chapel building, and two in the rear Schoolrooms. This has been done by the architects and builders in a thoughtful manner, trying to reflect something of the history of the building as a simple and beautiful Primitive Chapel.
Rev'd. Denise commented: “We are very grateful to Matt Ollier and the contractors at Bourne Chapel for taking the time to contact Frodsham Methodist Church in order to hand over this very precious piece of Methodist history. The way that the Chapel has been converted is a credit to the Architects, and I am sure the town houses will prove to be lovely homes for people in Frodsham. We pray that people will enjoy the building as much as previous members have done for over 100 years.” Although the Methodist tradition in Frodsham in the past was segmented between Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodists, the current Frodsham Methodist Church is a very happy uniting of Bourne Primitive, Five Crosses Wesleyan, Trinity Wesleyan and Union United Reformed Church.
It is anticipated that the items from the time capsule will eventually find their new home at the national museum to Primitive Methodism at Engelsea Brook near Crewe. This will mean that people will be able to visit and see the items on display (as well as lots of other fascinating pieces of Methodist history). See http://www.engleseabrook-museum.org.uk/ for more information. Before this happens though, local Frodsham folk are invited to drop into Frodsham Methodist Church Hall on Saturday 23rd November between 1pm and 4pm to take a look at the time capsule and to have a cuppa and catch up with others.
One of the younger members of Frodsham Methodist Church was very excited about the finding of the time capsule. Ella Carter is a pupil at Manor House Primary School in Frodsham, and with her classmates is currently undertaking a historical study of Grace Darling from the 19th century. Ella was thrilled to be able to hold a time capsule which was hidden in the same century as Grace Darling’s life, take some photos of the materials inside it, and has included these in the school assignment to be presented to her class.
Rev'd. Denise Harding
Written by the Minister & Members