New Holkham Methodist Church is different to any other chapel on the circuit being a converted corn granary over a cart shed at Longlands which is part of Holkham Estate. The chapel is owned by the estate and is let to the Methodists for a peppercorn rent of 5p per annum.
We believe the Granary (as it was affectionately known for many years by its members) was first used by the Parish Church to hold services for Anglicans living at the South end of the estate. It was then used for a time by the Congregationalists before the Primitive Methodists took over.
To access the chapel you have to climb well worn stone stairs which lead to a long room with low beams and lower windows with close set bars which once kept the sparrows out when it was a grain store. Before electricity came to Holkham (in the late 1940’s) the chapel was lit by lamp light. The heating until some time in the 1960’s was a tortoise stove with the addition of oil heaters.
There was a Primitive Methodist Sunday school at New Holkham as early as the 1920’s (25 scholars were listed in the roll book for 1933). This was closed during the second world war but local preacher George Yarham (David Yarham’s father) started it again when he came out of the Home Guard, he also took over as Society Steward when the post fell vacant Most of the children who lived in the hamlets of New Holkham, Quarles and Longlands (plus sometimes 1 or 2 from Burnham Thorpe and Holkham Village) attended the Sunday School at some time. The chapel being too small to accommodate the Sunday School Anniversaries meant that these were held in a nearby club room (itself being a converted cart shed). They were so popular that people (including bus loads) travelled from miles around to attend them. Even when the Sunday school had to close due to lack of children the Sunday school anniversary still took place with the grandchildren of the congregation getting together to enable this to happen. A smaller event similar to a Sunday School anniversary would take place on the Sunday before Christmas and for many years a bus would be hired and the service would be taken to Stiffkey the same evening. Anniversaries were added to by the men from the congregation singing and some of them had a small mouth organ band as well.
Carol singing which still goes on started soon after the end of World War 1. The singers sing round New Holkham, Longlands, Quarles, Branthill and, until quite recently, Egmere. In the early days they travelled on foot, later on Bicycles and now by car. Money raised is sent to Action for Children (formerly the N.C.H.)
New Holkham Chapel has for many years been a very special place to the Yarham family with most of the congregation being part of this family. Mrs Deborah Jarvis who was known to everyone as Aunt Deb played the organ for over 60 years. Services are only held once a month now but a good congregation is usually there with members travelling near and far to attend. We also are pleased that you can normally guarantee several children and young people will be part of this congregation.
If you would like to visit this Chapel you would be welcome at any of the services. Access at other times is to park at the South gates and travel to Longlands by foot. You turn left at the top of the first flight of stairs up a further small flight and then there is a padlocked door. To find out the code to this padlock please ring either Ruth on 01485210678 or Beryl on 01328878383.