The Methodist Chapel
Methodism came to Watton in 1832 when Robert Key, described as a Primitive Methodist "Ranter", visited the town for the purpose of giving a sermon that hopefully would increase their following. From the various reports of the time, it appears that many in the assembled gathering on the Market Place were not too pleased to see him and he was therefore greeted with much abuse and harsh treatment. One report says the place was thrown into a state of unusual excitement and utter confusion. Another states that the speaker was twice thrown to the ground from his stand and was eventually taken to the George Hotel opposite in a semi-conscious state, where he was treated for his injuries and shock.
Primitive Methodist Church and School Hall, Watton, 1928,
However, it would appear that his oratory must have influenced some of the gathering, as shortly after a Mr. Took, who lived in a small house in "Worm's Yard", — but now known by the more dignified name of Beechwood Avenue — built an extension at the rear of his property which became the first Primitive Methodist Chapel in the town. This building appears to have been used as their Chapel for the next thirty years, when presumably the whole of it was again occupied as a private residence. Extensive alterations have recently been carried out on it and it has now been converted into Studio Khyber's new studio and shop.
In October 1862 the Primitive Methodist's trustees bought a plot of land in the High Street for El80 and the following year they commissioned the building of a new Chapel at a cost of £ 500. They had insufficient money to meet the full cost of the building, but fortunately a friend and benefactor, Mr. Mark Moore, of Saham Hills loaned them £ 250. A new schoolroom was added to the Chapel in 1874 and once again Mark Moore chipped in with another loan of £ 300 to complete this extension.
This Chapel served its purpose for the next 64 years, and now known as the Methodist Central Hall, is still in great demand for various social entertainments and the Women's Institute hold their weekly market there every Wednesday.
By 1913 the Chapel trustees were thinking about building another new Chapel and the adjoining land on which the old Mailings had stood for over a 100 years was bought with this in view.
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