What Happened to the Missing Methodist Chapel Banner?

A while back I wrote about a Visit to Coleorton Methodist Chapel”and two years of my life spent in renovation work on it. Sadly the Chapel closed on 10th July 2011, after the loss of its aged congregation and increased running costs. At the time my partner and I were in the USA for 6 months so we missed its final service and closure. It was sold and is now a house, keeping its character on the outside, but much changed on the inside.

But over the space of years I have often wondered what happened to certain items belonging to the Chapel for example the 1839 Sunday School banner.

So if I was ever in contact with anyone who used to worship there I would always ask ”Do you remember what happened to the banner?”, and when I visited ex-Coleorton residents I would ask the usual question, I asked other chapel members if their chapel had it, and always the answer was “No”.

This year when visiting the Coleorton Village exhibition at Ashby Museum I took it upon myself to ask “the Question” of a lady in reception who informed me she couldn’t help but the man who had just walked in could. I pounced on the poor man demanding to know if he had our banner. He stood back looking at me as if I were some “Mad Hannah who had lost her banner”! My colleague and I were invited to the work-come-office area and after explaining to him that I was searching for missing items from Coleorton Methodist Chapel he went onto the PC – and lo and behold - there it was. But I was informed that they did not have it, just a picture for the records. When up pipes my quiet colleague who was viewing a book on Methodists saying “Well it says here that the banner IS in Ashby Museum archives.”

That put the cat among the pigeons – “Well I can only assume that it’s in our stock room and will take time to retrieve.” I was jubilant, so I asked if they had the brass war dead plaque, the Sunday School cup, the communal tray, and when found could we have them. By this time they must have thought I had a shopping list for Amazon! He said he would get in touch when they were found, which he did, but deflated me saying we could not have them as they had been donated to the museum for safe keeping. But we could borrow them for our Group any time we wanted for an exhibition. Disappointed but mission accomplished.

Hannah had found her banner!

Marian Walsh

Member of Coleorton Heritage Group