Ampthill Wesleyan Church – unveiling of the Memorial Tablet

Ampthill Methodist Church – a large brass plate is displayed inside the Nave on the East wall. The Memorial Plate is inlaid with enamel and measures about a yard square, and remembers 22 members of the Church and Sunday School who did not return from the Great War.

Six of the men are brothers of the Ansell, Cox and Money families. Christopher and Frank Cox were killed a few days apart in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. John Hele’s book ‘Ampthill’s Fallen‘ tells the fate of all twenty-two men. Five of the men are also remembered on the Ampthill Camp Memorial in Ampthill Great Park where they trained (1914-16). The five men are:

  • Arthur Gillett
  • Thomas Money
  • George Money
  • Richard William Putman
  • George Thompson

Unveiling of the Memorial Tablet
On 5th December 1920 a large congregation assembled to see the brass tablet unveiled. This is how the Bedfordshire Times & Independent reported the occasion –

Microsoft Word - Ampthill Wesleyan Church - 1920.12.10

Source: Bedfordshire Times & Independent – Friday, 10th December 1920 (page 5)

The newspaper tells us that after the unveiling of the Memorial Tablet, a special memorial service to the fallen was held in the evening, conducted by the Rev. Robert Rogers, in the presence of a large congregation. Mr W.H. Cutland was at the organ and the choir impressively rendered the anthem “What are these?” The hymns were “Ten thousand times ten thousand,” “When the day of toil is done,” “O King of Kings,” “Come let us join our friends above,” and “God of the living.” The Rev. R. Rogers gave a very interesting discourse from Matthew, xxvi, 8. “To what purpose this waste,”

The Memorial Plate was removed in 2019 for restoration work, and a copy of the Order of Service was found secreted behind.

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Order of Service, with thanks to B. Kerr

There are four WWI war memorials in Ampthill –

  • Ampthill Camp Memorial
    In Ampthill Great Park the Duke of Bedford memorial Cross remembers the 2,235 local volunteers who trained in Ampthill Park (1914-16) and the 707 who were killed. Completed June 1920.
  • Ampthill Wesleyan Memorial Plate
    Inside Ampthill Methodist Church a large, brass wall plate remembers the men connected with the Church and Sunday School who were killed. Unveiled 5th December 1920 by Mr A.H. Wingfield Esq J.P.
  • The Cenotaph
    At the end of The Alameda, The Cenotaph remembers the 65 Ampthill men who were killed. Unveiled 17th May 1921 by Princess Beatrice.
  • St. Andrew’s Memorial Cross (1921)
    In St. Andrew’s church yard a memorial cross remembers the parishioners who were killed. Unveiled 24th May 1921 by Lord Ampthill.

Sources
Ampthill’s Fallen (John Hele, 2014)

Ampthill Methodist Church

British Newspaper Archive

Content & photographs copyright Stephen Hartley (2015-)

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