Brinkworth, Wiltshire

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Primitive Methodist Chapel

By David Young

John Petty wrote: At Brinkworth, a large village about midway between the towns of Malmesbury and Wootton Bassett, many of the vilest characters were converted from the error of their ways.

Notorious wickedness

Such was the notorious wickedness of many of the inhabitants that for years it had been deemed perilous for a stranger to ride through the village alone; and when the zealous missionaries began to preach the gospel among these ruffians, they had for a time to endure considerable persecution. The clergyman of the parish was bitterly opposed to the efforts made by others to enlighten and convert his parishioners. But their Divine Master was with them, and crowned their labours with His signal blessing.

Pricked in their hearts

Many who went to hear them, with their pockets filled with stones to throw at them, were arrested in their wicked career before they could carry their purposes into execution. Mingling with the crowd, while they waited for an opportunity to begin to stone the preacher, they heard some portions of gospel truth, and were "pricked in their hearts" by "the sword of the Spirit;" then quietly and stealthily dropping one stone after another, till they had emptied their pockets, they joined in penitential cries to God to blot out their transgressions and to renew their hearts. Several of these became champions in the cause of Christ, and zealous useful local preachers. A great reformation soon took place among the inhabitants generally, and a powerful society was established, which shortly became the head of a circuit.

Rev Wm C Tonks wrote a book on the history of this church and circuit, Victory in the Villages. It is inspiring reading.

This page was added by David Young on 31/05/2012.
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The Primitive Methodist magazine of 1829 (page 287) contains an account by John Ride of the opening of Brinkworth Primitive Methodist chapel on Sunday and Monday 2nd and 3rd November 1828. Preachers at the opening were, on the Sunday, Brothers Towler and Petty and on the Monday Brother Towler.

The chapel measured 24'(w) x 37'(l), and was high enough for a gallery which Brother Ride believed was already very much needed.  

By Christopher Hill
On 07/09/2017

A further Primitive Methodist magazine reference is in May 1860 (page 305), when J Hill describes the foundation stone ceremony for a new chapel.

"On Thursday, February 23rd, 1860, the foundation-stone of a new chapel was laid at Brinkworth with becoming solemnity, by Mr. Jacob Humphries, of Wootton Bassett, who generously put £10 upon the stone as a donation towards the building. Previous to this, the trustees appointed the Rev. R. Davies, of London, to present Mr. Humphries with a handsome silver trowel, bearing an appropriate inscription.

The preparatory service was conducted with good effect. The Rev. Thomas Powell, of Malmesbury, took the devotional part, and Mr. Davies preached ; after which a good collection was made. The weather proving favourable, many kind friends from distant places were present. It was pleasing to witness some of the good old veterans of Primitive Methodism, who with glistening eyes, and hearty recognitions, were delighted to meet once more one of the first Methodist preachers they had heard in these parts, after an absence of thirty-four years. When the ceremony of laying the stone .was concluded, the friends repaired to the old chapel, where tea was provided ; about 300 per sons partook of the same. The public meeting in the evening was crowded. The speaking was listened to with lively interest.

The total proceeds of the day was £28, and nearly £40 promised towards the opening, which we hope will take place early in next June. Mr. T. S. Lansdown, architect and builder of Malmesbury, is the contractor."

By Christopher Hill
On 17/01/2018

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