Chard Methodist Church is a Grade II listed building. The school room was opened in 1894 and the church in 1896.
A outline of Methodism in Chard (compiled by John Malcolm)
Methodism reached Chard from Taunton and South Petherton.
Chard was head of the circuit for some time. There was once a chapel at Forton and Wambrook as well as Combe St. Nicholas.
On April 31st 1744 John Wesley records this in his journal, “Calling at Chard, I light upon a poor woman unawares who was eagerly groaning for redemption” The Wesley brothers were frequent visitors passing through the area.
Circuit background derived from ‘ The Mighty Oak’ The Story of the Devon and Dorset Mission by James H. Temple in 1974
In 1814 the Wesleyan Conference nominated ‘The Chard Chapel’ for a special collection from the two circuits of Plymouth and Plymouth Dock. The old building still stands a few yards away to the west of the present church.
It appears that this old building was lost to the Wesleyans during the Reform Agitation of 1849-50 and was used by the United Methodist Free Church until it was sold back to a body of Wesleyan trustees in 1880
The trust account books for the subscriptions for the building of the new chapel contains the following information.
Site purchased February 1881
School / chapel opened October 25 1894
New chapel opened November 28 1896
Total cost £3,557 : 9s : 5d
In 1885 Chard became the head of the circuit, having had its first resident minister in 1874, but for three years only because the circuit was impracticable financially, a constant source of anxiety to the Home Missions Committee who sometimes had to bolster the circuit up to the tune of £230 per annum. In 1883, at a time when it was having three ministers, the whole income from all sources in the circuit, which comprised, Honiton, Axminster, Lyme Regis, Chard and many villages, did not amount to £90 and a few shillings.
In 1888 the circuit was united with Budleigh Salterton circuit and constituted the Devon and Dorset Mission. The membership at Chard was 41, Forton 4, Combe St. Nicholas 8. The chapel at Chard was old and dilapidated, the floor decaying and a lean-to at the back being all the accommodation for school and classroom purposes.
At Combe there was a cottage service with 8 members. In 1881 the Rev. Thomas Riley secured the present site for £366 : 8s : 10d and also one at Combe. Luke Wiseman came to the opening of the School / Chapel in 1894. At the inauguration of the scheme for the chapel, services were held in the Baptist and Congregational chapels in the town.
The first manse was in High Street, then one was used for many years in Crimchard, until a house in Furnham Road was bought in 1969. The present manse on the Avishayes estate was bought in 1991.
Some land was sold to the Council for a car park and alterations were made to the school premises in 1969. Work on the interior of the chapel was effected in 1974 and plans advanced for a further extension to the schoolroom. New toilets were built in 2005.