Burton Fleming Methodist Church
THE METHODIST CHURCH, BURTON FLEMING.
Notes derived from church records and accounts
The first chapel accounts are dated 1st January 1867, the first entry being " 13 May 1866 Income from seat rents £6-14-0 and subscriptions of £11-19-9 towards a harmonium" Services at that time were conducted in what was later described as "a house and shop near the Council School"
The first subscriptions towards the proposed new chapel were promised when the Reverend J.M. Warmsley and Nathaniel Coleman "saw a few friends" on 6 May 1868. In the evening, the Rev J.M.Warmsley delivered a lecture after which a meeting was held when the promised subscriptions were read over. People entered into the matter so earnestly that Mr. V. Coultas of Wold Newton said he "thought we had better srike while the iron was hot". Messrs W.Agar, Chas Potter, W.K.Coleman and Nathaniel Coleman were appointed to a working committee and authorised to request subscriptions. The foundation stone was laid on 22nd January 1869 and the opening service held on 27th July 1869. It was conducted by the Rev J.Nance of York and his expenses were £1-10-0. So, just 15 months after the first meeting of a few friends the Chapel was open and with Hunmanby and Reighton chapels was annexed to the Filey Circuit at the 1869 Conference. The total cost of the original building was £804-4-9 of which £790-19-6 was raised within a year of the stone laying ceremony in January 1869. 72 North Burton people donated £163 in sums ranging from £50 to 6d from an "unknown friend" The remainder was made up of individual subscriptions from throughout the Bridlington and surrounding Circuits. Each individual gift was carefully recorded in the "Secretary Book" of 1870 written by N. Coleman, Secretary. it was a well organised fund raising effort. Even the sale of 500 surplus Kilham bricks for £1 is recorded. The first heating apparatus was installed in 1870 at a cost of £25 for hot water pipes up the aisles in 3 inch pipes. This system failed within a year and was replaced at a cost of £50. The chapel had financial problems for the first five years and relied heavily on the generosity of the Trustees for loans and gifts. In April 1876 the Trustees were able to declare "all debts cleared and no liability remained upon the Trust". But that happy state of affairs didn't last long, the financial situation remained precarious for the next 100 years! However there was no note of despondency whatsoever reflected in the minutes no matter how pressing the situation. . Instead there was a steadfast resolve to continue "the work of God in the community".
A new American organ was purchased in 1875 for £32, the sale of the harmonium raised £4-5-0. For all the continuing financial problems the Trustees were determined to expand the premises to meet the needs of the congregation. The vestry was enlarged in 1886 and the Sunday School built in 1891.
Mention is made of a fire in 1895 and a more serious one in 1902 due to the heating apparatus igniting the rostrum and causing £163 damage. The rostrum was destroyed and part of the roof burnt out, the organ case injured, window glass broken, varnish spoilt and the pulpit Bible and Hymn Book lost. The replacement rostrum was smaller than the original.
By 1904, eleven of the original Trustees had died and a new Trust was formed of seventeen. These are listed by profession: 11 Farmers, 2 Gardeners, 1 Tailor, I Grocer, 1 Watchmaker and I Gentleman.
1909 saw the appointment of a Chapel keeper "to do his best in the cleaning, lighting and dusting of the Chapel so that the interests of the cause might well be served".
In 1927 the Trustees were reviewed and increased to 26 made up of 4 Farm workers, 7 Farmers, 2 Grocers, 1 Schoolmaster, 1 Blacksmith, Shoemaker, I Insurance Inspector, 1 Agricultural Merchant, I Tailor, Butcher, 1 Auctioneer, I Dairyman, I Road worker, I Watchmaker and 2 Gentlemen. The new Trustees arranged for the installation of a Minster's vestry and toilet. In 1932 the caretaker was invited to resign for unsatisfactory work. The vacancy was advertised at £10 per year including cleaning materials. The first choice applicant was passed over because he felt unable to sign the contract. Rule 5 was a problem, as it required attendance at the Sunday evening service.
A special meeting of the Trustees was called in 1932 because of "the necessity which had arisen since the coming of the Methodist Union of finding a suitable name for the Chapel". It was agreed to name it "St. John's Methodist Church".
The financial problems continued throughout the 1920's and 1930's. Most year's accounts started with an entry "Amount owing the Treasurer". In 1937 it was resolved that the Church be self standing financially rather than keep appealing to the Filey Bazaar Committee for grants. Members were asked to pledge weekly amounts. The pew rent system had operated since 1869 when they were set at 1/- per quarter for the back row, then 9d per quarter for three rows, then four rows at 6d, the remainder free. Chapel renovating and decorating in 1937 cost £181.
By 1938 the organ was in a bad condition and it was agreed to buy one from Cottingham for £40 plus £25 removal and assembly. The war years brought problems. The collections were very poor and members were urged to give regularly. The Trustees had "become apathetic, had lost interest and couldn't attend meetings. No Trustee meetings were held in 1942 "owing to the blocked state of the roads". There was a proposal to hold United Services with the Primitive Methodists.
The schoolroom was used as a Forces canteen and in 1942 electric light was installed in the porch, kitchen, schoolroom and vestry for £10 including £2-10-0 for bringing the cable to the boundary. The canteen workers offered to pay half the cost of the three lights in the schoolroom. The electric light was installed in the chapel in 1946 and the heating again repaired for £122.
Owing to low attendances services were held in the evenings only from 1947.
The last service was held on Sunday 10th April 2016 at 2:30pm, and the chapel is now closed.
Transcription supplied by Christine Roderick