It is recorded that 'cottage meetings' were held in several venues in and around Chelmsford between 1789 and 1810. The first Chapel was built in Springfield Road in 1818 - a plain unpretentious place. A second chapel was erected on a site opposite the first building in 1843 at a cost of £1000 - a building of no particular architectural beauty! The building was extended in 1870 to provide seating for 300. In 1896 a new site in High St., adjacent to the Stone Bridge, was purchased. The new church was opened in May 1898 - a handsome building in perpendicular style of Gothic.

The Primitive Methodist Circuit was based in Hall St., Chelmsford and the Church was dated c.1850. A second mission Church was opened in Rainsford Road just prior to the First World War.

The union of the two circuits was held in the High St church in October 1932.

In 1959 the High St church was found to be sinking into the adjacent river Can. The cost of repairing and refurbishing it was considered uneconomic and the site was sold to Cater Supermarkets for £81,000. It was decided to build a replacement on the site of the Rainsford chapel (which was to be demolished) and the church, to be known as Trinity, was opened in 1961 at a cost £43,000. The money that was surplus to the sale of the High St church was used to build a new church on the new Moulsham Lodge Estate in Chelmsford, to build a replacement church in Witham and towards the cost of a replacement church in Broomfield on the outskirts of Chelmsford. Trinity church was extended in the early 1980's by the purchase of the Builders Merchant warehouse and this was converted by church members into a meeting space with kitchen and toilet facilities.

In the early days of Methodism the Chelmsford Circuit included churches in and around the town, the town of Maldon with several churches in the Dengie area, the town of Braintree with several churches in the surrounding villages and Witham. Currently the Circuit extends from South Woodham Ferrer's in the south to Halstead in the north and to Maldon in the east and includes a number of ecumenical projects.

Entry written by: KB
Category: Place
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