On his only visit, in 1774, John Wesley preached in a private house and admired the cathedral as 'one of the most beautiful' he had seen. The earliest reference to local Methodists is in 1807. A barn was registered for worship in 1808, followed by several other buildings. The Littleport Circuit, formed in 1808 from Thetford Circuit, became the Ely Circuit in 1812 and by 1814 extended as far as Cambridge and March. The first chapel was opened in Chapel Street in 1818 by Jabez Bunting and was replaced by the present larger building on the same site in 1858. A PM chapel (no longer in existence) was erected in Victoria Street in 1847. The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion's chapel of 1879, also in Chapel Street, replaced a smaller building of 1785 on the same site.


John Wesley's Journal:

November 1774: 'Mr. Dancer met me with a chaiseā€¦ Water covered the high road for a mile and a half. I asked, "How must foot-people come to the town?" "Why, they must wade through!" 'About two, I preached in a house well filled with plain, loving people. I then took a walk to the cathedral, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The western tower is exceeding grand, and the nave of an amazing height.'

  • Methodist Recorder, 16 April 1908
  • Eileen Jakes, The Ely Methodists 1774-1932 (Ely, 1988)