In 1794, only three years after the death of John Wesley, a plot measuring 30ft. back to front, and 38ft. wide, some 98 ft. back from what is now known as Bank Street was purchased from Mr. Mark Pitts, at the bottom of what was then known as Pitts Yard (later Fox Yard). The site of the first meeting house is now occupied by a new building and used by the Wetherby Silver Band as their headquarters).
The Rev. William Radcliffe was appointed to the Wetherby Methodist Circuit in the year 1807, and in his report to the Wesleyan Magazine in May 1809 he wrote “The cause of God is prospering among us at Wetherby. Within two months 60 persons have found Peace with God.”
The present Methodist Church (previously known as “Wesleyan Chapel”) was erected on land purchased from Mr. James Wiggins in 1829. The first stone of the new building was laid on the 28th April 1829 and the Utley Brothers carried out the masonry work, while T. and W. Green did the joinery work. The pulpit and some of the pews under the gallery were made out of pews from the old meeting house.
The old Meeting House was sold back again to Mr Pitts in 1829 when the present Church was opened. The only remaining remnant of the old Meeting House, so far as we are aware, is the slab over the entrance to the block of offices in “Fox Yard”.
In the Late 1800’s the Methodist Congregation had a school at the back of the church that predated the Church of England school. The Methodists were mainly shop keepers and traders so they included Geography and other topics concerned with commerce, where as the C of E school chiefly concentrated on the three R’s – Reading wRiting and aRithmetic.
The Chapel has changed a great deal over time and its most recent history has involved two major redevelopments. The first one took place at the beginning of the 1980’s which led to the creation of the Joseph Rank Hall. The Rev Steve Barlow became the Minister and under his leadership the Church again underwent a major redevelopment programme between 2010 & 2011 resulting in the creation of a beautiful Chapel with comfortable chairs, a Quiet Room, Upper Room, Link Corridor and modern facilities suitable for our less able users.
Wetherby Methodist Church is now a centre of worship and also suited as a venue for a whole range of community events and meetings.
When the Primitive Methodist Chapel in North Street was demolished, and the two Chapels merged, The original foundation stone was re-sited in the Bank Street church.
Thank you to Michael Hare for providing this information