Historic Fenland chapel built by Wesleyans set for new lease of life

A FORMER Methodist chapel built nearly 200 years ago could be converted into two homes after owners failed to find a buyer to change its use into a single house.

Sovereign Homes say the slate roofed, red bricked New Road Emmanuel Chapel in Chatteris, won consent for redevelopment seven years ago “but such a large unit proved difficult to sell and the permission expired”.

A fresh application has now been submitted to Fenland District Council by Sovereign’s agent, Robert Doughty Consultancy.

Historical records show the chapel was originally built in 1815 by the Wesleyans who had arrived in the town some nine years earlier.

Throughout the 19th century it is thought to have been also used as a school and local records show that the chapel was enlarged in 1855.

Robert Doughty, in their design statement to Fenland planners, point out that a date stone above the front entrance is dated 1903.

“The church was originally built in the Gothic revival style but we are not sure when the building was last used but it is clear it was some time ago,” said Robert Doughty.

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If their plans are successful all of the internal and external features will remain and a new twin garage and communal parking area added.

The chapel still retains some stained glass windows with stone surrounds and cills to the principal openings, say the agent, and there is also a central round feature window in the apex of the central projecting gable.

“The church originally had a hammer-beam ceiling but this has latterly been reinforced with metal tie roads,” they added.

“Overall the interior of the church is quite plain.”