The Churches of Britain and Ireland
Wigton Cemetery has two chapels flanking the entrance from Station Hill. The one to the left of the entrance is labelled on old maps as Non-Conformist (NY 2448 4899), and the other as Church of England (NY 24510 48982). Earlier still, on a map of 1865-6 the chapels show as Dissenters and Episcopalian. The Non-Conformist Chapel (another view) appears to be now used as the cemetery office. The Church of England Chapel (presumably now non-denominational) is still in use. Another view, and the interior. The cemetery itself dates from 1855, but whether the chapels are also of this date is not at present known to me. All © Steve Bulman (2018).
Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses (tightly hemmed in) on Reed's Lane. Circa NY 2563 4847. © Steve Bulman. Now succeeded by a newly-built church - see this news article, which says that the old church had been in use for "about 30 years", in what had been Parish Rooms. The new church, which stands at the junction of the Wigton by-pass (A596) and Station Hill, was built in 2018-19, and was due to open for worship in March 2019. NY 2498 4881. © Steve Bulman (2019).
St. Mary (1788, re-built 1881) replaced a medieval church dating back as far as 1100. I'm not aware of any surviving illustrations of the old church, but this article from the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society a least gives a mental picture of it. Interestingly, the article mentions "Mr Hill's joiners shop in the town" as having some of the pillars from the old church in the shop fabric. The article was written in 1928, so Mr. Hill will be long gone, but the shop may survive. NY 2559 4827. © Steve Bulman. Another view, © Alan Blacklock. A window and pillar from the old church stand in the churchyard. A plaque below the window says that it was the sanctuary window, and that the remains were restored in 1965. Interior view, © John Balaam (2018). Link. Grade II* listed.
The former Salvation Army premises on Station road. It has a date-stone for 1885. The O.S. map of 1900 marks it as Salvation Army Barracks. Now the John Peel Theatre, the history page of their website says that "The theatre building began life as a chapel in the late 19th century. Later it was used as a Salvation Army Citadel.". Citadel or Barracks, it seems to have had a short life, as the 1925 map marks it only as "Hall". The My Primitive Methodist Ancestors website entry for Wigton Primitive Methodist Chapel says that what is now the theatre was built as a Sunday school for the P.M.'s. This is clearly a subject ripe for further research. NY 2553 4855. © Steve Bulman (2019). Connie Jensen, chair of the Wigton Theatre Club has advised of a new page on their website, here, giving a few more details.
Meeting House Lane, off King Street, was, as the name suggests, the location of a congregation, revealed in "History of Wigton", by T. W. Carrick (my edition is 1949) to have been Wesleyan. The book says "The Wesleyans were established in Wigton in 1819..... Their numbers rapidly increased and they moved to a building in Meeting House Lane (where the Picture Palace is now). Although no old maps which I have access to show the meeting house, a 1925 O.S. map shows a cinema on the Eastern side of the lane at circa NY 2550 4847. This link suggests the cinema building may still be extant. © Steve Bulman (2019).
09 October 2020
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