A brief history of Methodism in Syston

The first Methodist Society in Syston is believed to have started about 1777 with the early Methodists meeting "in each others cottages. At this time Methodism was in its infancy in the neighbourhood and ‘few persons whom the world called ‘respectable’ would unite themselves to the sect everywhere spoken against" There is a strong tradition that in the early days of Methodism that Dr Matthew Dalley stood by the preachers when threatened with rough treatment in the open air.
The first Wesleyan Chapel was built in Town Street (renamed Chapel Street) in 1797 on land belonging to William Cooper and it is believed that most of the cost of building was defrayed by him. This Chapel was extended over the years and remained in use for Sunday School and ancillary purposes until 1962 when it was sold. The building is still in use in the community.

The Primitive Methodist movement came to Thurmaston and Sileby in the early 19th Century. George Hanford was a lace manufacturer living in Sileby, he eventually became the President of the first Primitive Methodist Conference to be held. The beginning of the Primitive cause in Syston can be traced back to 1818 when George Hanford came to Syston with about 26 followers who gradually deserted until only about 6 were left when he reached the Green where they faced a large crowd of local people. After some hectoring Mr Hanford was able to preach and the cause went on from that time. It is said that large Camp meetings were held at Round Hill. The first Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1836 in Cramp Lane (renamed School Street), this was later converted into two cottages and demolished in 1977.
In 1887 a new Primitive Chapel was built on Leicester Road (now Melton Road) and the two storey schoolrooms at the rear in1897. This was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by the telephone exchange.

By 1889 the Wesleyan Society felt that they also needed larger and more up-to-date premises. A plot of land costing £180 was purchased in High Street and on Easter Monday, April 7th 1890 the foundation memorial stones of the present Church were laid. The Church was opened on September 18th 1890 costing a total of £1600.

Although the various branches of Methodism were officially re-united in 1932, the two churches in Syston continued their separate ways with their own ministers, and in different circuits, until in 1948 the Leicester North Circuit was formed from the former Claremont Street and Saxby Street Circuits. The two congregations joined together in 1960 when worship was centered at High Street and Sunday School at Melton Road
Chapel Street and Melton Road were sold and plans made for the new schools on land next to the Church. This building cost £25,000 and was opened in 1965 free of debt.

In 1968/69 the interior of the church was altered and ‘modernised’ with the creation of an entrance vestibule, cloakrooms, a new pulpit and Lord’s Table, a redesigned sanctuary area, a suspended ceiling and a new Miller Norwich Organ.

In 1999 ‘a Millennium Plan for the Christian message in Syston, in the heart of an expanding town’ was outlined by the Development Committee. The vision was to link the Church and hall together and to modernise and re-furbish the Church. The development included a new entrance, the removal of the suspended ceiling to reveal the original panelled roof, brick arch and Memorial windows; new comfortable and flexible seating; and an enlarged communion area with an illuminated cross visible through the new glass doors.
This was to cost £300,000 with many events organised by the Fund Raising Committee to help cover the costs. The work was completed on time and the Church was re-dedicated in March 2004.

As part of this improvement, a new Westmorland Custom Organ by Makin Organs was installed in November 2006 at a cost of £12,750. A new pulpit which completed the restoration was installed at Christmas 2009.