There have been several Methodist chapels
and churches in Bollington. The individual
groups have merged together to leave us with just one church
today, in Wellington Road, but this is no longer used as a place
of worship, the small congregation having moved to Macclesfield.
There have been three Methodist buildings on this one location,
originally known as Knowles Green, since 1808.
Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
The first building close to Bollington built for Methodist worship
was on Billinge Hill (Rainow, but overlooking Bollington), a small
chapel which was in use from 1781-1807. It was sold when it became
too small, and is today a cottage.
The first Methodist chapel built in Bollington was opened in 1808
on the site of today's Methodist church in Wellington
Road, an area known then as Knowles Green. The ground was provided
by Peter Lomas, owner of the nearby Waterhouse
Mill. The chapel was also used as a Sunday School for the
children until purpose built accommodation was provided close
by at the Large Sunday School at the bottom of School
Brow (Hurst Lane).
| The opening notice for the first New Chapel shows that the first sermon
was given on 15th May 1808. The small print at the bottom is a classic
of its age! It announces a Silver collection in order to exclude children
and others who weren't sufficiently well off to be expected to help clear
debt raised to build the chapel and who would otherwise crowd the chapel
from an early hour! It could hardly be more condescending, but they try
[printed] Hymns and Anthems will be given to the People as they
enter the Chapel." Their italics!
second, larger, chapel replaced the first on the same
site in 1837. Additional land was provided by the then owner,
Thomas Oliver. The building (architect's drawing left) was,
as one might expect, very plain both inside and out. By 1880
the roof was in need of significant repair and in 1884 it
was decided to replace the entire building with a third church.
picture of the Knowles Green area in Wellington Road is one
of the oldest in the Discovery Centre collection.
It would have been taken in the 1860s, before the railway
was built across the foreground.
In the picture you can see the church with the manse just
to the left of it. The Weslyan Sunday School (today's
Arts Centre) had not yet been built (1914). In the middle
distance the Dog & Partridge
Inn stands proud. The light
coloured area behind the Dog is the canal embankment which
had been there less than 40 years at the time of the picture,
which probably explains why the stone looks so new.
The present, third, church was designed by William Waddington
of Manchester and opened in 1886. The picture (left) was
taken about 1960 - compare with the 1860s picture above.
New church, same manse. The Weslyan Sunday School is now
in the background. This was completed by 1914.
picture (left) shows the original interior of the present
building. In the 1980s major changes were made to improve
its usefulness. A new floor was built approximately on
the line of the balcony to divide the building horizontally,
providing a church on the top floor and offices and function
rooms on the ground floor.
In 2008 the tower spire was completely
rebuilt. In 2012 the Methodists ceased worship here and
the building was sold. In 2016 the lower floor was converted
for use as a childcare business called Daisybank Nursery.
The upper floor is one of the best performance spaces in
Bollington so we were particularly sad to lose it when the
building was put up for sale. It was especially good for
Bollington Brass Band concerts. After a gap of some years
it was a great pleasure to once again hold the annual Remembrance
band concert in the building on 13 November 2016.
The church is a Grade II listed building.
modification the church hall was decorated in the modern style
providing a bright airy space which was used for a wide variety
of activities. Illustrated is a performance by the Macclesfield
Male Voice Choir.
May 2008 the Methodist church celebrated 200 years in Bollington.
A history of the church was published - 200 Years
of Bollington Methodism, which is available from
the church and the Discovery Centre .
|Picture courtesy of Barbara Whitehurst
2008 celebration events
During 2008 a number of events marked the 200th year of
Methodism in Bollington and the 100th anniversary of the
opening of the present church building in Wellington Road.
- A history of the church was published - 200 Years
of Bollington Methodism, available from the
- An exhibition was held at the Library.
- A talk was given at the Library on
Wednesday 19th March 2008.
- A talk by Audrey Williams was given at the Library on
Wednesday 14th May 2008.
- A weekend of events was held on Thursday 15th May to
- An exhibition was held at the Discovery Centre duing
May - June 2008.
Other Methodist churches
This was a 'tin tabbernacle' on the corner of Grimshaw Lane
and Rose Bank.
High Street Primitive Methodist Chapel
This was a huge building in High
Street standing where High
Court is today.
The substance of this page has been taken from Jean M. Wright's
book 200 Years of Bollington Methodism, which
is available from the Discovery Centre ,
and with pictures from the Civic
Society historic picture collection which can be viewed at
the Discovery Centre or online.
My thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history
that is presented in these pages. Please
read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement.
Your Historic Documents
Please don't chuck out those historic documents and pictures! Find
out why here.