brief history of the Chapel and Christianity in and about
celebrate our 160th Chapel Anniversary in Oct 2014 and 170
years of being a community in the village but the gospel has been
preached and lives committed to Christ in Effingham since
Saxon times – presumably since AD674, when the Venerable Bede recorded dwellings here as having been granted to the
Benedictine Monastery in Chertsey. There is now no
remnant of a Saxon church, although Saxon artifacts have
been found locally but the earliest part of St.
Lawrence’s Parish church was probably built around
AD1260. A continuous line of vicars from 1237 proves an
unbroken chain of witness to this day.
date in Free Church history is 1689, when William III (of
Orange) promulgated an Act of Toleration permitting
‘Dissenters’ – today we call them Protestants – the right
to places of worship if registered by the Anglican Bishop.
Methodism, originally a ginger group within the Church of
England, had taken root as a separate movement, and
nowhere less than in Dorking. Wesley visited Dorking 21
times between 1764 and 1791, preaching to such effect that
a meeting house was opened there on 23rd. December 1772.
was in 1842 that Methodists first met for services on
Effingham Common and
in 1844 that a member of the Dorking Society, Rev Aaron
Langley, using the format prescribed in the Toleration Act
as endorsed by John Wesley, obtained from the Bishop of
Winchester’s registrar a licence “that the dwelling of
Mrs. Mary Cooke in Effingham be intended forthwith to be
used as a place of religious worship by an assembly or
congregation of Protestants”. Mrs. Mary Cooke lived at 4,
Church Cottages (still there), and after 10 years the
flourishing Society built the chapel in which we now
worship, in the heart of the village.
Murrell, also lived at no 4
Church Cottages until she got married and moved to Oreston
Lane. The picture shows the row of cottages
where she lived which are only a few yards away from where
the Chapel was built. Her father Mr William Pollard lived
there until he died in 1966.
Winifred Pollard was another staunch Methodist directly
descended from Rev. James Rogers, one of Wesley’s closest
colleagues. You will recognise her name from the memorial
tablet in our Chapel garden.
“Our Lady of Sorrows” RC church was built in the village
through the benefaction of George Pauling , a railway
engineer from South Africa.
the hall (known in Methodism as the schoolroom) was built
on to the Chapel to celebrate our centenary.
Membership of the Methodist
Society fluctuated in the 1960’s between fourteen and
twenty four; in these years we find the beginnings of an
awareness of our sister churches in the village. United
services were undertaken. A
joint service was held in our chapel during the week of
Prayer for Christian Unity in 1972, with Father Loder, Rev. Leslie
Perfect and Rev. Kenneth Vaughan Jones participating. During the late seventies our numbers were so low that we
were threatened with closure but the Dorking & Horsham
Circuit was persuaded to keep us open as a going concern. With fresh folk joining, the Society was confident enough
to embark in 1991/2 on a major modernisation of the
premises costing over £50,000, plus a new organ. During
the building work our services continued in the chapel of
the Anglican Convent of the Sacred Passion, with
refreshments afterwards in the RC hall belonging to Our
Lady of Sorrows. In the newly-restored premises, we held
our re-dedication in January 1993 in the presence of
Wesley’s successor, Rev. Dr. Kathleen Richardson, the
President of Conference.
ecumenical impetus this gave us in the village remains and
flourishes to this day. As ‘Churches Together’ we have
regular praise services, a 3-monthly shared Holy Communion
services at St. Lawrence or All Saints, and a working Ecumenical Forum
that arranges all kinds of events including Tuesday Teas,
Messy Church and a Saturday 'Cafe' style' Church. Effingham churches
continue to serve the community on a wide front !
In September 2010 Effingham Methodist
Church became part of a
local five church Pastorate with the Leatherhead and
Cobham United Reformed Churches. The Rev Kim Plumpton
looks after the Cobham United Reformed Church and the
Cobham and Effingham Methodist Churches and Rev
Lynda Russell the Leatherhead Methodist Church and the
United Reformed Church. Although the Methodist
Churches are still part of the Dorking & Horsham Circuit
we hope this arrangement will strengthen the witness of
the local churches and enable us to meet the needs of our
local communities well into the future.
The Dorking and Horsham Circuit
celebrates its 171st Birthday in November 2015.
The Chapel also takes part in the
National Heritage Weekend celebrations each year. See 'NEWS' section of website
History by L.J.Rogers with acknowledgements to “W.I.
History of Effingham” 1973.