150th Church Weekend

We are Celebrating 150 Years (1869 – 2019)of serving Waltham Chase

The landscape of Victorian Britain looked a lot different within Waltham Chase in 1869 than now. Mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and used as the Bishop of Winchester's hunting grounds down the ages, Waltham Chase was a very rural wasteland, open heath common and grazing area in 1869.

In the wider history of the nation that year Queen Victoria was in her eighth year of mourning her husband Albert; there were factory and colliery disasters that cost the lives of at least sixty-eight working people; four people were shot dead by soldiers on 2nd June at Mold in Wales during protests over a cut in wages at the coal mine; the first ever Sainsbury's was opened at Drury Lane in London; the company Heinz was founded in the USA; Charles Pickering Hayley (a trading ancestor of the late member of the current church at Waltham Chase Pene Gordon) set foot for the first time in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); and in little old Waltham Chase a group of Christians known as 'Methodists' first met in a chapel after an agreement was made on the 25th October 1868 with a local builder by Trustees for a Methodist Chapel to be erected at Waltham Chase.

It was thought that the first service was conducted on Good Friday March 26th 1869 but a local journalist (most likely Violet Cook of the Hampshire Chronicle newspaper) from 1969 writing up a report on the centenary states: "It seems that the chapel was opened on April 10 and the preacher was a Mr. Beveridge. The opening collection was £2. 14s. 1d." Whilst confirming the payment of £87 to the builder James Fillmore from Bishop's Waltham, it also mentions that the land on which the chapel was built was bought for £5 and 19,850 bricks were bought for £28. 14s. 4d. It is quite possible that both events happened, namely a service for Good Friday on 26th March 1869, and then an official opening on Saturday 10th April 1869.

The roots of this chapel emerged from the growth of a Methodist movement with people responding to the gospel message in a new expression of Christian faith. They were nicknamed 'Methodist' in that the founder John Wesley (1703-1791) and his followers were very methodical in their approach to religious observance with daily prayers, Bible study, and holy living. Previously there was no church in Waltham Chase.

With the growth of the church has come development in the addition of a hall and kitchen in 1980 and a new modern worship centre built in 1997. Down the years the church has engaged with the village of Waltham Chase through Sunday school, children’s clubs, youth groups, parent and toddlers activities, and over 50’s coffee mornings. The present church seeks to be a welcoming place in loving God and loving people, and it has added to its many facets of community service with a food bank, memory lane tea parties, adult football team, overseas mission, and a Prospects group supporting people with learning disabilities and physical challenges in life.

In 2019 Waltham Chase sees new housing developments emerging, but the old chapel and new church on the hill in Curdridge Lane continues to be a hub in the village community and welcomes new people to be part of this history moving forward.

written by Steve Bridge

Throughout the weekend we are going to host a feast of great events. See below for details of the events on Friday night 31st May, Saturday morning 1st June  and Sunday morning 2nd June.

We are hosting a music event on Saturday evening, we are just finalising the acts, so details are to follow.

Saturday evening poster