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Fareham

The first Wesleyan premises were a former Congregational Chapel in West Street, purchased in 1812 for £350. At that time Fareham was part of a large Portsmouth Circuit. Extensive repairs in 1836 burdened the church members with debt for many years.

In the summer of 1858 Messrs Albion Dodge & W.J. Pyle moved to Fareham and the work they commenced at the Methodist church was continued by their descendants until the mid-twentieth century. They were founder members of the present Junior Church - started on the 29th January 1859 at a time the church struggled with debt and low membership. After this numbers steadily rose and twelve years later bigger premises were erected.

In 1867 a Fareham Circuit was formed, consisting of Fareham, Porchester and Stubbington, together with Wickham in 1871 and Lee on Solent in 1897.

On Monday 13th July 1874 the stone-laying ceremony took place for a new chapel, opened on Thursday 6th May 1875 by the President of Conference, the Rev. W. Morley Pushon. The architecture was in the decorated Gothic style, with Sunday School rooms beneath the main chapel building.

The Sunday School continued to grow under the guidance of Mr. Albion Dodge, assisted by his eldest son and Mr. J. H. Pyle (secretary) who took over from his father when he retired to Lee-on-the –Solent in 1897. New school rooms were added to the rear and side of the building in 1908.

In 1908 the Gosport and Fareham Circuits combined, the new circuit consisting of Gosport (Stoke Road), Fareham, Portchester, Hardway, Stubbington, Wickham, Forton (Lees Lane) and Lee on Solent. Since then Hardway, Forton and Wickham have closed.

A new church was opened on the 24th May 1939 in Kings Road. The floor, organ, pews and many fixture and fittings from the old chapel were reused in the new building. The old chapel in West Street provided temporary accommodation for the homeless during the war and was eventually demolished in 1952.

The new church remained relatively unchanged until the long, narrow chancel was reduced in length to provide more seats for a growing congregation in the 1980s. Later a porch was added to the front of the building and a new toilet block built. Plans to build a second storey were discussed for several years, but the project was eventually abandoned in favour of a much needed new kitchen; a welcome area was also created . Later the pews from the previous church were replaced by chairs.

In 2013 a new circuit, 'East Solent and Downs', was formed by bringing together the former Petersfield, Liphook and Haslemere Circuit, the Portsmouth Circuit and the Gosport and Fareham Circuit.

Sources

  • The Hampshire Post, 27 December 1912; 3 January 1913

Entry written by: MSB
Category: Place

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