Methodism was introduced by two brothers Thomas and William Robinson, who came from North Shields in 1769. John Wesley paid ten visits between 1770 and 1790, preaching in 1770 at Bridlington Quay. By the following year houses had been registered for worship in John Street and King Street at the Quay. In 1772 he preached in Bridlington Old Town, where a chapel was opened in St. John’s Street in 1775 (rebuilt 1803; enlarged 1805, and replaced by a new chapel further down the street in 1884, known from 1970 as ‘St. John’s, Burlington’). The first WM chapel at Bridlington Quay was opened on Cliff Street (now Chapel Street) in 1795 (or, according to some sources, 1810); it was enlarged 1818 and 1820 and rebuilt on the same site 1873.
The first PM preacher was John Coulson from Driffield, who spoke in the market place in 1819, followed by William Clowes in 1821. They met at first in a sail loft near the pier. A chapel was opened on the Esplanade near the bandstand in 1833. In 1870 this was replaced by ‘Central’ on the corner of Chapel and North Streets (rebuilt on a larger site, 1879; closed 1969, on amalgamation with the former Quay WM). In Old Town the first chapel was opened in 1834 on the west side of St. John’s Street (enlarged 1848; replaced by a chapel on the east side of the street; rebuilt 1877; closed 1970, on amalgamation with the WM chapel). Bridlington PM became the head of a Branch, with 320 members in 1834, and gained circuit status in 1859.
The WM society was affected by the Disruption of 1849, fifty members, including some local preachers being expelled for their association with the Reformers. These met in a room in Cliff Street, Bridlington Quay, until a chapel was opened in 1852 (replaced by ‘Promenade’ chapel, 1872; closed 1958). The first resident minister arrived in 1860 and in 1861 the society joined the Methodist New Connexion, rather than the UMFC.
Following Methodist Union, the WM and PM societies at the Quay united in 1969, to form Chapel Street Methodist church (closed 1999) and the two St. John’s Street societies in Old Town amalgamated in 1970 to become ‘St. John’s, Burlington’.
See also Johnson, Amy
John Wesley's Journal:
June 1770: 'I rode to Bridlington, and preached on the quay to many plain and many genteel people.'
June 1772: 'The room being far too small, I was desired to preach in the churchyard. On the ringing of the bells, I removed thence to the market-house, where we had more than double the congregation, the snowball gathering all the way we went.'
July 1774: 'I went on to Bridlington Quay; and in the evening preached in the town, to as stupid and ill-mannered a congregation as I have seen for many years.'
June 1790: 'The Dissenting minister offering me the use of his chapel in Bridlington, twice as large as our own (the wind being too high for me to stand abroad), I willingly accepted his offer.'