Apart from one recusant in 1577 and one or two protestant dissenters
in 1682 and 1683, no nonconformist was recorded in Bladon until 1820 when the house of
John Sumner, later a Methodist local preacher,
was licensed as a meeting house. (fn. 37) At first the
Bladon Methodists were organized jointly with
those of Combe, but by 1836, when another
house in Bladon was licensed, they were a
separate group, with two local preachers. A
chapel, on the north side of the main road, was
built in 1843, when there were 69 members of
the church in Bladon; until then they had often
attended services at Freeland. (fn. 38) Attendance on
Census Sunday 1851 was 42 adults and 56
Sunday school children in the morning, and 94
adults and 30 children in the evening, when
there was no service at the parish church. (fn. 39)
Numbers fell in the 1850s, probably because of
competition from the Primitive Methodists and
perhaps also from the Wesleyan Reformers who
were very strong in Woodstock, (fn. 40) but they rose
again in the 1860s, and had reached 62 by 1877.
In that year a new chapel was built, in 13thcentury Gothic style to designs by W. Ranger, (fn. 41)
and the old chapel was converted into a schoolroom.
An out-house in Bladon was licensed for
Primitive Methodists in 1847, (fn. 42) and although no
return was made in 1851 the congregation seems
to have been meeting in 1857 when the rector
reported two dissenting chapels, apparently
both in Bladon. (fn. 43) A Primitive Methodist chapel
was recorded in 1864, but the surviving building
in Providence Place bears the date 1868. (fn. 44)
Later 19th-century reports of the strength of
Bladon Methodism do not distinguish between
Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. In 1866 the
rector complained that the only man of influence
in Bladon, a small farmer and tradesman, supported dissent. There were two or three Methodist local preachers in the village in 1871, and
in 1891 the only farmer in the parish was a
Methodist, as were two of the three shopkeepers. (fn. 45) In 1895 the Methodists protested vigorously at the 'High Anglicanism' of the curate at
the parish church. (fn. 46) Methodism was still strong
in Bladon in 1985.
The Primitive Methodist chapel closed after
the Methodist union of 1932, (fn. 47) and was in 1985 a
private house. The former Wesleyan chapel
became the Methodist church, and in 1985 was
served from Kidlington.
||Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 1732/1.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 1732/2; Bodl. MS. Dep. c
380, item b.
Returns of Recusants, 1577 (Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii), 110;
Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 65, n. 259.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 644, f. 225; ibid. MSS. d.d.
Oxf. Meth. Circuit b 1; e 3; c 21, item b, f. 79; datestone on
Ch. and Chapel, 1851, no. 56.
||O.R.O., MS. d.d. Oxf. Meth. Circuit b 2-4; below,
Woodstock, Prot. Nonconf.
Oxf. Times, 3 Oct. 1877.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 647, f. 47.
||Ibid. d 179, f. 62.
P.O. Dir. Oxon. (1864); recut datestone on bldg.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, ff. 83v., 84; P.R.O., RG
10/1448; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 105, ff. 63v.-64.
||Bodl. MS. Dep. c 380, item a, pp. 51-3.
|| Ibid b 158, item c, p. 127.