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History

In the early days camp meetings were held in fields at Ashford Mill.There were some houses in Stonesfield registered for Methodist meetings in 1800 and 1802, and in 1808 there were nine or ten Methodists. There seems to have been no regular preaching until 1825, and in 1827 a small chapel was built by Michael Osborne, whose father, together with David Oliver, another founder of the new chapel, had signed the certificate of 1826. The chapel, which belonged to Witney circuit, had a membership of 15 and a congregation of c. 150. A Primitive Methodist meeting room was registered in 1846 and a chapel built in 1853. In 1854 the rector claimed that dissenters timed their services to interfere with those of the parish church, and enticed children from the school. A new Wesleyan chapel was built in 1867, the old continuing in use as a Sunday school and temperance hall. Membership of the chapels may have been only c. 35, but many more parishioners attended nonconformist services. Congregations changed in the late 19th century and early 20th, and long before the union of Methodist churches in 1932 the Primitives gave up their chapel. The Wesleyan chapel remains in use today as Stonesfield Methodist Church. The former Primitive Methodist chapel and old Weslyan church have been little altered from the outside despite their use as private homes now. (Sources: British History Online and "Stonesfield-From Slates to Chips")although they do not agree on certain dates). It is John Wesley's picture above.

As you may see, Methodism has been an integral part of Stonesfield for well over two hundred years. In 1998 the interior of the church was restored and renovated thanks to a generous bequest from one of the old village families.It was once more a truly beautiful and fitting place to worship our Creator God.

We share our Minister Rev Paul Weir, also Circuit Superintendent. pictured above, with five other churches in the Witney and Faringdon Circuit. Others in the Circuit team are Rev Fred Ireland, Rev Melanie Reed and Deacon Ellie Griffin plus Circuit staff.


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