A History of Methodism at Horton
Horton’s connection with Methodism dates from Wesley’s first visit to Gower in 1768 when he preached and stayed in Oxwich.
Between 1770 and 1773 he visited Oxwich again and preached in a number of Gower villages.
The history of Methodism and the chapel is closely associated with the Tucker family. A lease dated 29th September 1741 was granted to William Tucker at a rent of £3 per annum.
In 1743 a chattel lease in respect of a cottage and garden was granted at fourteen shillings per annum.
The first William Tucker died in 1753 and was succeeded by his son William II (1738-1826). Both men were Methodists and in the record of societies in 1796, William Tucker II is listed. This society was based in Oxwich and included members from Horton and Port Eynon.
It was William Tucker and his wife Margaret (nee Harry of Oxwich) who formed a new society in the village. Up to 1813, meetings were held in the Tuckers cottage. As the numbers grew William Tucker provided a piece of land on which the chapel was built. William II did not preach but his son William III became a local preacher in 1807 and preached for 46 years. George succeeded his father at The Beeches’ and continued the family tradition as a leading figure of methodism. His son John, who died in 1932 aged 88, was associated with the Horton chapel all his life serving as secretary and treasurer of the trustees for over fifty years.
Horton was chosen as the place of residence for Gower’s Wesleyan minister. The Old Manse was built in 1868 and occupied by the first minister the Rev. Richard Bray. In 1880 the Manse was improved by the addition of a front portion. A new Manse was built in 1925.
In this extract from the Methodist Recorder (Winter 1898) there is an account of a circuit meeting in Horton chapel by HK.
“The size of the circuit town as the people proudly call it may be imagined from the fact that according to the Sunday school report which was read in my hearing at the Good Friday tea meeting every child in the village attends the methodist Sunday School, the bairns are fifty four in number and there is an average attendance of thirty eight”.
“We lodged in one of the beautiful spotless cottages the garden of which looked over the roofs of little farms to the bay far below. I had the honour of sleeping in the bed occupied by the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain who, whatever may be said about his politics, has the good sense with his son Austin to appreciate the rest of a cottage holiday in one of the sweetest villages on the south coast of Glamorganshire”.
During the 20th century the chapel was a thriving place of worship with sound membership and a continuing Sunday School. Until the 1980’s most of the residents who were born in Horton attended the Sunday School and chapel services. Today there is a small regular congregation and services are shared with Pitton. Changes in the last 25 years are consistent with population changes and social trends but the chapel has a small but loyal membership.