The Bible Christians were a mainly rural branch of Methodism, but they registered several small preaching places in the town of Southampton, including, in 1851, one of the lodging houses in Simnel Street. They opened the Jubilee Chapel in Princess Street in Northam. This was replaced by the St Mary's Road Chapel. Their Shirley chapel on Stratton Road was opened in 1867. In 1898 they built a further chapel in Manor Road, Woolston, and by 1905 they also had Hightown Chapel. Brown quotes extensively from the records of Hightown.

The Bible Christians joined with the United Methodist Free Churches and the Methodist New Connexion to form the United Methodist Church in 1907.
The United Methodist Church, the Primitive Methodist Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church united in 1932 to form the present-day Methodist Church. As there was often more than one local chapel, some buildings closed and merged their congregations. It took time to work through the changes caused by Union, and for a few years there were three Southampton Methodist Circuits: Southampton (St James) based on the Wesleyan Circuit, Southampton (St Mary's) based on the United Methodist Circuit and Southampton (St Denys) based on the Primitive Methodist Circuit. Most of the United Methodist Circuit was outside Southampton, headed by the chapel at Leigh Road, Eastleigh. The only surviving United Methodist Churches (2020) in the Southampton Circuit are Hedge End, and Woolston (Manor Road North)

Further reading:

Story of St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Sholing, by Jim Brown, p51-64. (HS/j)


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