Peterborough

In Peterborough services were at first conducted in a small cottege in Westgate Street, the Itinerant Preachers from Kettering visiting the place fortnightly. About 1817, while William Hinson was in charge of the Kettering Circuit, the first Wesleyan Chapel was built in Peterborough at a cost of £400. Peterborough was in the Stamford Circuit until becoming the head of a new cicuit in 1825. In 1833 Earl Fitzwilliam, having opened a new street, gave the Wesleyan Trustees a much more desirable site for a new chapel, in addition to a sum of money equal to the value of the old chapel, and headed the subscription list with a donation of £25. In a few months the chapel was erected at a cost of £950, large enough to accommodate one tenth of the population. A ‘gracious revival of the work of God’ took place. The present Wentworth Street church, seating more than 900, was built in 1874 at a cost of c.£6,000.


Primitive Methodism reached Peterborough when William Kirby was sent from King's Lynn in 1833 to mission the town. It became the head of a circuit in 1839, but devastating winter floods, economic decline and emigration in the early 1850s led to serious decreases in membership and in 1854 the circuit was taken over for a time by the General Missionary Committee. A major figure during the second half of the century was Isaac Edis who, when he died in May 1902, had been Circuit Steward for fifty years, serving also as Sunday School Superintendent, class leader, local preacher and society steward. He had attended seventeen Conferences and been on the Board of Guardians and the County Council.

Sources
  • Henry Smith in Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, 1881, pp.750-1