Not by the Methodist congregation in Alcester, but by this magazine. We have often featured the Anglican, the Baptist and the Catholic. churches but never the Methodist. We remedy this omission by excerpts from the 1972 "Souvenir Account of 160 Years of Methodism".
"It is probable that John Wesley passed through Alcester in July 1752 on his journey from Chester to Bristol. On two other occasions the great evangelist visited this district. Methodism first started in Redditch and afterwards spread to Alcester and Studley."
"The introduction of Methodism to Alcester was not at all well received: in 1812 when the Reverend Michael Cousin) a Methodist minister, preached at Alcester, he was brutally treated by a party of residents. A brick thrown at the chapel struck the reverend gentleman with some force. Other instances are recorded:- a Mr. Heaton, who had endeavoured to introduce Methodism to Alcester, was dragged up and down the street gutter: he carried the marks of his ill-treatment to the grave. However, Mr. Heaton, stationed at Redditch, continued to deliver his message and the work grew and prospered. About 1810 a friend gave £50 per annum to support a resident minister in Alcester; accordingly, the Reverend T. A. Rayner lived here in 1841, the Reverend B. G. Mitchell in 1842 and later the Reverend F. F. Woolley."
"The chapel on Priory Road was built in 1872 on the site of a cottage, in which services had been held since 1812, this having been purchased and turned into a chapel.
The most consistent supporters of Methodism in Alcester have been the Hallam family, who have been connected with the church for upwards of a century.
Methodism received a distinct revival when the members of the Fader family came to reside in Alcester".
"The centenary we are commemorating was the beginning of the chapel which was built between two cottages, retained to support the chapel walls which were only one brick thick. When Messrs Clark and Son, the owners of the garage at the rear, demolished the cottage on the north to improve access, it was found necessary to support the chapel with steel girders. When the cottage on the south side was due for demolition, there was no alternative but to take down the chapel as well: this left only the Sunday School building."
We know that the present chapel did, in fact, replace the demolished one, with the hope, as the souvenir account puts it "of serving the community for another hundred years."
Autumn 1995 Index