The voices of Spalding Methodists from the past have spoken to present-day worshippers in an unusual way.
A time capsule, placed under one of the memorial stones in Broad Street Methodist Church at the time of the stone laying ceremony in July 1886, has come to light.
It was discovered by a stonemason undertaking work to the building as part of a refurbishment and redevelopment project called Vision21.
The time capsule, a glass bottle provided by a 19th century church member, Mr Donington, who had a chemist’s business, contained copies of the Spalding Free Press, the Methodist Recorder and Methodist Times, a description of the chapel and the Spalding Circuit Plan of services.
There was also a letter to members, dated January 1886, regarding the proposed New Wesleyan Chapel, which contained a list of those who had already subscribed £831-6s-0d and an appeal for further subscriptions to pay for the estimated outlay of £3,000 to ensure the chapel could be opened free of debt.
Bryn Chappell, a member of the church Vision21 steering group who has liaised with builders throughout the project, said they knew of the existence of the time capsule thanks to a reference to it in Norman Leveritt’s book, A Faithful Witness.
He said: “We knew there was a time capsule and we knew it was in a cavity near the William Jackson stone. What we didn’t know was whether it was above it or below it, but that was the place to start.”
Stonemason Luke Matthews, who works for the roofing contractors doing the work, agreed to try and locate the time capsule as a gesture of goodwill.
Bryn said: “Lo and behold he found it first time, but because it had been concreted in, once the brick was moved the bottle broke.
“It’s absolutely amazing that, 129 years later, somebody removes two bricks and it’s found, when you consider how many bricks we have in the church.”