THE LITTLETOWN SOCIETY
Looking through the records of the society at Littletown helps to understand, in some respect, what the Christian life was like in those times within the society. The chapel was built on a corner of Baalam's Farm, then owned by Mr James Alford. It was built of brick with a tiled roof, some 36 feet long, 18 feet wide and 15 feet high. Chapel Anniversaries were celebrated on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. There was a Sunday School room at one end of the building and this anniversary was celebrated in June, after Conference. Quarterly meetings were held in the circuit, Littletown taking its turn to be the host. It is interesting to note that, often, the Christmas Quarterly Meeting was held on Christmas Day! Each society was obliged to send a return to the Quarterly Meeting, on the state of its membership. Any changes from the previous quarter were duly noted and recorded under various headings such as:
- - New members
- - Removals
- - Deaths
- - Backsliders
- - Backsliders through drink!
Until 1845, there was just a single circuit on the Island, but, at that time, interest was so high that the chapels were split into two circuits, the Shanklin circuit and the Newport/Ryde circuit. These two circuits carried on until 1870, when the Yarmouth circuit was formed from the West Wight chapels in the Newport/Ryde circuit. While there has always been some fluctuation in the numbers of members, the Littletown society seemed to be in the range 25 to 30 members. The society appears to have served the local community well although there appears, from time to time in the records, some comments on the remoteness of the chapel. There has never been any suggestion, though, that the major storm in 1897 was God's answer to many prayers!
The Circuit Quarterly Meeting records comment on the effects of the storm and the subsequent actions as follows:-
QUARTERLY MEETING HELD AT ARRETON, MAR 23RD, 1897
RESOLUTION 8. That we express our sympathy with the Littletown friends in the wreck of their place of worship by the great gale of Mar 3rd, but congratulate them on the prompt and determined way in which they have taken up the matter of re-building and heartily approve of the more suitable site selected near the high road, which we hope may be secured. At the same time, we pledge ourselves to render them all the help possible when they make their appeal.
QUARTERLY MEETING SEPTEMBER, 1897
- The Circuit Meeting asked all societies to donate one Sunday's collection to Littletown.
- Littletown Trustees consider the completion of the building scheme too great an undertaking. The Quarterly Meeting request them to re-consider and take into consideration the Connexional Chapel Secretary's wish to urge the completion.