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Methodist Chapel

chapel2.gif (51381 bytes)In 1676 two non conformistsSROB Survey of Suffolk are listed for Tuddenham but this could refer to two families who disassociated themselves from the established church and adopted a different form of worship. Later a Certificate of Dissenters was issued, dated 14th. November 1816 it gave permission for an outhouse of a cottage situated in Tuddenham and belonging to Walter PalmerSROB Book, Certificates of Dissenters , to be used as a meeting place for worship by protestants.

The first non conformist group to make any real impact on the village were probably the Baptists who in 1843/4 built themselves a small cottage style flint chapel set back from the road behind a cottage in the Street near the Green. This was used by them until the early 1870's when it fell into disuse. The decline of the Baptists was counteracted in 1876 by William and Mary Spooner who formed a Methodist Society in the village although they had no specific meeting place until 1882 when the redundant chapel was put up for auction with two adjacent cottagesSale Poster . At the Bell hotel in Mildenhall on the 9th. of June 1882 William paid just 52 for the three properties and the group now had their own chapel which served them well into the next century. While being renovated in 1926 the whole roof fell in and the pitch of it was then changed from sloping front to back to side to side and cost 108 to repair.

In January 1940 with an expanding Sunday School more space was needed and on a site at the back of the chapel, generously given by the Marquis of Bristol our Lord of the Manor, a new schoolroom was erected at a cost of 193 7s 6d. This was fortuous as a few months later on September 24th. a bomb dropped in the street nearby and so badly damaged the chapel and a nearby cottage that both had to be demolishedSpooner Family , the rubble from the cottage was used to fill in the crater left by the bomb. The schoolroom was then used for ordinary services for the next twelve years while fund raising took place to provide a new chapel in Tuddenham. During this time special occasions and anniversaries were held jointly with the Free Church at Barton Mills.

In December 1950 work beganChapel building, Mr Denton Smith was the architect and Cocksedges the builders employed by the Trustees. Oliver Spooner, son of the Tuddenham Society founder, laid the foundation stone on 7 / 4 / 1951 and was assisted by children of the Sunday School at a Brick laying ceremony. The new building included an attractive worship area, vestry, schoolroom, storage space and lobby and cost 5000, it was opened free of debt on May 1st. 1952.

Today the new chapel is still in use although services have been reduced, for almost fifty years it has been a witness to the glory of God, an asset to the community and an interesting part of Tuddenham's history.

2001 Esme Murfitt

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac