METHODISM IN CODSALL
In the middle of the 18th century, John Wesley travelled the country preaching and teaching, and there is evidence in his journal that he visited Bilbrook at least nine times over a period of 21 years. Although he never stopped in Codsall he rode through Codsall on his journeying to Madeley and Nantwich. On 18th April, 1757, he preached to about 20 individuals and it is thought that this may have been the first serious gathering of Methodists in the area.
A Methodist Church in Codsall is recorded on the plan of the Darlington Street Circuit in 1870, although it appears to have closed two years later. In the same year a number of Free Churchmen met in a grocer’s shop, when a village church, open to all nonconformists, was opened. A plot of land was purchased in Chapel Lane, Codsall, for £30, and the foundation stone was laid on 3rd December 1873 by the then Mayor of Wolverhampton.
This church, which had no allegiance to any denomination or organization, had no ordained minister, and was administered by a Committee of Twelve, was the basis of the eventual establishment of a formal Methodist Church in the Codsall area. After fifty years of preaching by laymen, Rev. Donald MacMillan was appointed as full-time minister in 1936, as the membership had been growing steadily. He retired in 1951, followed by Rev. Walter Chrimes, and six years later membership of the church was over 200, due very likely to his stirring preaching, and the number of people who had moved into the area and into the new housing estates.
The rapid increase in membership meant that the Sunday School also grew substantially, to approx. 200 children who were now graded into Beginners, Primary, Junior, Senior and Young People’s departments. In order to accommodate the increasing numbers, the departments operated in various places in Codsall. At this time a very successful Youth Club of 60/70 members was also in operation.
In the mid 50s, due to a number of circumstances, the Church Council explored the possibility of association with a particular denomination. Methodism was chosen mainly because it was the only denomination that could provide a minister and generous funding for a new church when it was required.
At the Church Council meeting on 17th May, 1956 it was formally agreed ‘that the Council would apply to the Trinity Circuit Quarterly Meeting to be admitted as members of the Methodist Church, and that Trinity Free Church should become Trinity Methodist Church Codsall’..
From September 1957 – 1964 Rev. George Waddington became the first minister of Trinity Methodist Church , resulting in the church ‘bursting at the seams’. A sub-committee was then set up to oversee the building of a new Church. After investigating three possible sites, a plot of land was acquired on Histons Hill, adjacent to the new manse built in the early 1950s. The total cost of the project amounted to approximately £60,000. On 10th September 1966, a casket was laid, and the stone which marks the position of the casket can be found just in front of the large stained glass window in the porch.
On October 21st, 1967 the new Church was formally opened, with a service of dedication conducted by the Chairman of the District, Rev. Brian S. O’Gorman.
Because of the increased size of the building, it is now used extensively by both church groups and many community groups during the day and the evenings. Information about these groups is found elsewhere on this website. Refurbishments have taken place over the years, the latest of which was in April 2012 (please see photos below), and visitors today will find a large, well-lit and modern church in which to meet and worship.