This account is based on an article written by the Revd Joseph Howard and published in the March 27th edition of the "Methodist Recorder" in 1890



When William Oldman was still a youth he attended one of the sermons preached in Thetford by Mr Samuel Gates, a preacher from the Bury Wesleyan Methodist circuit. William said later "I happened to be there and received some good impressions." This sermon was followed sporadically by others over several years.

At this stage there was no Methodist church in Thetford but a small group, having been convinced of the need, a few years later on January 6th, 1791 started regular services in the thatched cottage of one of them, John Fisher, senior. The other three of the founders were William Oldman, William Hinson and John Fisher junior. William was then 49

The society was established with eight members - the four men and their wives. The first chapel was secured costing the society 20 (presumably for the fittings, since they had to pay a quarterly rent of 3) and proved a great success. William wrote: "This proved a true Bethesda, a house of mercy to may souls. I myself, my dear companion and several of our family were baptised there. I remember one night seventeen persons were added to the society".

In 1803 the movement was so successful that a nw chapel was built at a cost of 400, 100 of which was raised from the members of the society, the rest being borrowed and repaid with interest. Many of the members who could not afford to provide money gave "time and toil" to the project, and even one of the preachers, William Midgeley, "laboured with his own hands with us in the good work".

The trustees of the chapel found it difficult to meet the high cost of servicing the loan, bu succeeded in the end. This chapel was eventually replaced by the present building.

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