This month we bring you an overview of Blythburgh Primitive Methodist Chapel, Dunwich Road, Blythburgh, Suffolk by Alan Mackley.
This delightful building is sadly ‘at risk’ and the Chapels Society is deeply concerned about its future.
The first chapel on the site was built in 1837 however, the present building has an 1870s date stone on its front elevation. Whether this represents a complete rebuild or an enlargement of an earlier building is not known. The chapel is a modest brick building, with an original exterior but no surviving interior furnishings.
It is not listed and there is no reference to it in James Bettley’s East Suffolk volume in the ‘Pevsner’ series of Buildings of England.
However, the chapel has a very important place in Blythburgh history. The Primitive Methodist nonconformist sect was attractive to the poor farm labourers who made up the majority of Blythburgh’s population.
The 1851 census of religious attendance shows that many more people worshipped at the chapel than in the parish church (Holy Trinity – Grade I listed).
Sadly, since its closure in the 1970s the physical condition of the chapel has steadily deteriorated though it has been used very occasionally for art exhibitions. It is located on a very small plot and the lack of parking space and land at the rear has no doubt made finding an alternative use difficult.