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Visiting Aylsham Methodist Church, White Hart Street, Aylsham, Norfolk, England: dating from 1842

Updated on March 11, 2013
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Aylsham Methodist Church
Aylsham Methodist Church | Source
John Wesley
John Wesley | Source
Map location of Norfolk
Map location of Norfolk | Source

Housing a congregation with origins in 1784

This fine, old building is the Methodist Church, in Aylsham, Norfolk, England.

Dating from 1842, its mature, red brick frontage is broadly typical of chapel (1) architecture in mid-19th century England. Stylistically, the frontage of the two, joined properties — the church building itself and the adjacent church hall — is a study in contrast. The square lines of the Georgian-looking church hall differ markedly from the repeated round, window and doorway arching on the church building itself. This eclecticism would be described as being indicative of an emergence from the Georgian period, when Classical contours were very common, into the veritable explosion of diverse Victoriana that occurred from the mid-19th century.

A pedimented porch projects prominently. The roofing is made of slate. The large, tripartite rounded window, with conspicuous stucco moulding, gives the interior of the building an airy, well lit look. The traditional, wooden pews have been retained.

A program of renovation was undertaken on the building in 1982.

A Methodist congregation in Aylsham was founded in 1784 (2), Another building in White Hart Street, Alysham, formerly used by Methodists, was sold to local Baptists. From 1842 a reconsituted Methodist congregation met in the newly built structure (shown in the photo, above). The congregation was formerly often known as Wesleyan Methodist; this was to distinguish it from a Primitive Methodist group, once strong locally, meeting in Hungate Street (3), and from a Reformed Wesleyan congegation which used to meet in Millgate Street, Alysham.

The Methodist Church is situated at 28 White Hart Street (4), Aylsham, Norfolk, England.

March 11, 2013


(1) While the term 'Methodist Church' is not uncommon in England, the terms 'church' and 'chapel' often formerly referred respectively to buildings designated as Anglican or as belonging to one of the various Protestant Nonconformist groups (often now known as 'Free Churches'). Interestingly, and by way of contrast, in Ireland the term 'chapel' often refers to a Roman Catholic church building.

(2) This was well within the lifetime of the widely travelled Methodist preacher John Wesley (1703-1791). The County of Norfolk was profoundly influenced by Methodism, as led by John Wesley, and others. A Methodist church building in Walsingham, Norfolk, dating from 1791, is East Anglia's oldest, continuously used Methodist structure.

(3) In 1932, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists and United Methodists amalgamated and became the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

(4) Occasionally one may see the form 'Whitehart Street' but the 'White Hart' form predominates.

Also worth seeing

In Aylsham itself, the Parish church of St, Michael and All Angels is an imposing, Medieval structure; the Town Hall, a former Corn Hall, is located in the Market Place.

Blicking Hall, Blickling (distance: approx. 2.5 kilometres) reputedly birthplace of Anne Boleyn, is a stately home for which the National Trust is responsible.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Aylsham is 241 kilometers from Heathrow Airport. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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