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History in the Making

A Brief History of Grappenhall Independent Methodist Church
(Photo: Members of Church Choir in period dress at commemoration of 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War - Nov 2018) 

  On his removal to Grappenhall in 1855, Thomas Leah an Independent Methodist Lay Preacher and a few fellow believers felt led to begin a new Church. Leah who had been converted to the Christian faith at a Camp Meeting at Cherry Lane, Lymm, in 1828, started the Church in a room above a bake house on Knutsford Road. The bake house stood behind what is today a modern detached house which is the third property from the junction of Knutsford and Chester Roads.

For 26 years the small fellowship went from strength to strength. By 1880 it became clear that the room above the bake house was no longer large enough. The Church Leaders decided to buy a plot of land on Chester Road  and to erect a new Church for the expanding congregation. After some local opposition the Church was opened in 1881. The building today is part of a private residence between Euclid Avenue and Clarence Road.

Despite the Independent Methodists in Grappenhall having a new church building the congregation began a period of decline. The situation was reported to the Warrington Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches who appointed Robert Henshall and Arthur Jolley "to endeavour to revive and resuscitate the Christian Cause at Grappenhall".

The leadership provided by the circuit helpers was to quickly transform the situation at Grappenhall. Within a few years the Chester Road Church was no longer large enough for the congregation and it was decided that larger premises were required.

The Church Leaders decided to look for a new plot of land on which to build a larger building. Land in the Cross Lane area of Grappenhall was sought. After much negotiation land was bought on the corner of Knutsford Road and Knutsford Old Road. The new Church building opened in 1913 was located just outside the Parish of Grappenhall in what was then known as 'Latchford Without' and today is part of Stockton Heath Parish.

The Church would continue to flourish at it's new location with an expanding Congregation and Sunday School and found itself at the hub of the local community and it's activities. Such were the extent of activities at the new building that an extension of the Sunday School building was begun in 1951. While there was much expansion and activity at home a young missionary from Grappenhall, Horace Banner, was dedicating his life to the task of taking the Christian Gospel to the Indians of the Amazon Rainforest.

Today the Church continues to face the new challenges of the 21st Century and over the next few years it will have to make decisions about its future and how it delivers the Christian Message to the people of Grappenhall in a relevant way. 

For further reading:

Grappenhall Independent Methodist Church -
A Short History. Alfred Pridden. Published 1973.

Grappenhall Independent Methodist Church -
A Reflection from Church Records 1913 -1999. John J. Hewitt. Published 1999.

Recommended reading:

The Independent Methodists - A History. John Dolan. Published 2005.