John Wesley (1703-1791), an Anglican Clergyman, together with his brother Charles, is widely credited with the foundation of the Methodist Church. Throughout his life John remained within the Church of England maintaining that his movement was within the bounds of Anglican tradition. One of John’s achievements was to form small societies in the United Kingdom and North America that developed their religious experience. Under his leadership Methodist’s became leaders in many social issues of the time, including prison reform and the abolition of slavery.
It was inevitable that a separation from the Anglican Church would occur. There were also splits within the Methodist movement itself. A more detailed account of the way Methodists groups split and then came back together can be found at http://www.wesleyhistoricalsociety.org.uk/dmbi/index.php?do=app.entry&id=2934.
Methodism came to Calne in 1808. The first place where they met was a cottage in Curzon Street. They then moved to Kew Lane, at the end of Anchor Road, in what used to be a weaving shop. This building quickly became too small for their numbers. It was then decided to build a chapel in the ‘Quarry’ although the exact location of this place is unknown. Then in 1876 Lord Lansdowne provided a piece of land in Silver Street and a Wesleyan Chapel was built there. There was also a Primitive Methodist society formed in 1830 and they met in Back Row and later in London Road.
In late 1965 both these Churches came together in the Silver Street building. They joined in a new circuit of Churches called the Mid-Wilts Circuit, which combined the Wiltshire Mission and the Calne Circuit. In the 1970’s the Methodist and the United Reformed Churches began talking about uniting in West and Mid Wiltshire. For 30 years there were United Areas in the two halves of Wiltshire then in 2008 a major reorganisation saw these two United Areas become one under the name of The Wiltshire United Area. And so the Church continues to evolve in its service to the local community.
Between 2000 and 2001 Calne Methodist Church undertook a major refurbishment of its building to make the premises more flexible for community use. The building is much more disabled person friendly with easy access to most of the facilities and with several toilets installed to cater for large numbers of users. Most importantly a new, state of the art, kitchen has been built which can produce meals for up to eighty people. The pews were removed from the Church area and individual seating provided for up to 120 people in a flexible seating arrangement. Loop systems are installed in all rooms. There are sound systems in the Church and hall.
The activities that the Church is now used for and how you can book the premises for your own activity are detailed on separate pages of this web site.