Wareham, Dorset

Methodism had an inauspicious start in Wareham, when John Smith came from Poole in 1793 and preached on the Bowling Green. He was pelted with mud and stones by a hostile mob. However, in 1799 the Poole Circuit recorded five members at Wareham. Among them was John Stickland, a key figure over the next 35 years and well known as a preacher in the neighbouring villages.

Services were held first in a home and then in a succession of rented rooms. In 1851 a plot of land in Dollins Lane was purchased and the first chapel was opened in October 1852. From 1879 to 1902 Wareham was a separate Circuit, before reverting to Poole.

In 1896 a new church was built on the present site in North Street. The Dollins Lane premises became a school room until it was sold in 1970 to finance the complete refurbishing of the North Street Church. The frontage was transformed, the former gallery was made into an upstair room, and the old-style Methodist 'preaching house' became the much more flexible church of today.

Entry written by: EMJ
Category: Place
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