Ley Hill Methodist Church
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History

Baptist History

A Baptist meeting was registered at Ley Hill in 1786 and they met in various cottages, until they built a Baptist chapel on the common in 1833. The Baptists and Methodists used to hold joint outdoor services on the Ley Hill Common, until in 1908 when these two groups combined together and used the Methodist chapel. The Baptist chapel was demolished in 1921. Today the congregation has people from many different denominational backgrounds, as well as new Christians from none.

Modern History

During WW2 the chapel was the base for a group of American evangelists called the Gospel Team who were serving at nearby Bovingdon Airfield. In 1979 the Young People’s Fellowship (YPF) was started. In 1982 the inside of the chapel was modernised with the inclusion of toilets and a kitchen. In 1988 the church started its link with Skopje Methodist Church in Macedonia. In 1990 the annual Chesham Backpackers Holiday Club started. The chapel interior was modernised and updated in 2013.

Church Records

Church records are very helpful for family history. Through many centuries when there was no church in Ley Hill, people got baptised, married or buried at Latimer or Chesham. Christenings at Ley Hill first appear in the St Albans Primitive Methodist Circuit registers in 1847, and they also appear in the High Wycombe Primitive Methodist Circuit records in the 1850s and 1860s. Ley Hill Methodist chapel has been registered for weddings since 1891. Local Anglican records date only from 1871 when St George’s Church was built at Tylers Hill. Burials have taken place at Ley Hill since 1906 are in the non-conformist section of the Tyler’s Hill Burial Ground, with the registers held by Latimer and Ley Hill Parish Council.

Further Reading

The Life of a Village Chapel, published in 1987, written by Neil Rees
The Church by the Woods, published in 2011, written by Sheila Hart and Neil Rees

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