The earliest references to Methodist preaching in Spalding is by visiting preachers from Horncastle and Boston. An episcopal visitation return in the early 1790s records fifty Methodist families in the town. In December 1793 a house belonging to Charles Young was registered as a place of worship, and in 1796 the first Methodist chapel was built at the bottom of a passage called 'the Hole in the Wall' off the Market Place. This was in use for thirty years, until its successor was built in Broad Street, thanks largely to the generosity of a local butcher, Augustin Pridmore. This second chapel was registered in May 1827 and seated 380. The society initially disapproved of having an organ and the singing was led by a male soloist, augmented on special occasions by instrumentalists from the congregation, until a harmonium was acquired in 1856.

In the early days a Sunday School was held in the British School in Pinchbeck Street, until a two-storey schoolroom was built next to the chapel in 1861.

Spalding Circuit (known in its first year as Boston Circuit) was formed in 1795. A separate Holbeach Circuit came into existence in 1874.

The 1851 Religious Census recorded a morning congregation of 262 plus 200 in the Sunday School ; 28 in the afternoon and 330 in the evening. This thriving cause was seriously affected by the Wesleyan Reform movement. A membership of 197 in December 1850 had been reduced to 48 by March 1852. But the Wesleyan recovery was vigorous, led by a group of local businessmen. Notable among these was Henry Longbottom, the Chapel and Society Steward who had signed the Broad Street census return in 1851 and belonged to a long-standing Methodist family. His son George Longbottom (1845-1919), was a partner in the drapery business of Harper & Co. in the Market Place. Described as 'one of those gentle, kindly souls beloved by all', George joined the Broad Street society in 1860 and became a Local Preacher in 1862. He held many offices in church and circuit and was a trustee of many of the circuit chapels.

By 1868 the Broad Street chapel was proving inadequate. The pews were replaced by pitch pine seating and a second place of worship was opened in Spalding Marsh in 1873. A new and larger Broad Street Chapel was opened in March 1887 alongside its predecessor, which was demolished to make way for new school premises. This second Broad Street chapel had seating for 577 adults and 69 children. By 1892 adult membership had risen to 176 with 51 on trial and by 1907 membership had reached 200. During an extensive renovation of the church in 1902, services were held in the schoolroom next door. The post-war years have seen many further changes and improvements to the Broad Street premises.

Others leading the continuing recovery were two Donington brothers: James (1830-1895), who settled in the town in 1856 and Robert (1832-1895), who joined him in 1863. James took over Henry Longbottom's ironmongery business in Bridge Street and was a local preacher who travelled extensively around the circuit. Robert set up as a chemist in the Market Place and became much involved in the life of both the town and the Broad Street church, serving for over thirty years as Superintendent of the Sunday School.

The Wesleyan Reform movement in the 1850s seriously reduced the membership at Spalding by both resignation and expulsion. The Reformers met at first in the Assembly Rooms. They became part of the United Methodist Free Churches in 1857 and opened a church of their own in the Crescent in that year, taking with them not only many Broad Street members, but the whole of the Sunday School and the nearest village causes. In 1907 they became part of the United Methodist Church, which brought together the Methodist New Connexion, the Bible Christians and the UMFC.

The Primitive Methodists also had congregations in Spalding, with chapels in Little London (1842) and St. Thomas Road (1872).

Despite Methodist Union in 1932, bringing the three branches of Methodism together to form the present Methodist Church, the union in Spalding did not take effect until 1939.

  • Norman Leveritt, ed., 'A Faithful Witness: A History of the Methodist Church Broad Street Spalding 1887-1987'