Wesleyan Methodist and United

  • Bolton’s Wesleyan Methodist congregation was part of an Albion Circuit with visiting ministers but no fixed place of worship 
  • In 1848, the congregation laid out a cemetery adjacent to the Anglican Burial ground, on land provided by James Cupper Bolton (James Jr.) and his wife Ellen Bolton 1
  • Finally, in 1852, the Wesleyans built a frame Chapel from heavy planks with roughcast exterior.  It was dedicated on December 12th, 1852 as Zion Methodist Chapel 2
  • By 1876, a larger church was needed and a new Victorian Gothic style brick church was built at a cost of $6000, named Wesley Church. By the end of the dedication service that October, the congregation had fully paid for the building 3
  • The church contractors were Hicks and Cline (Toronto) and George Watson (Bolton).  The bricks were produced locally at Norton’s brickyard
  • In 1885, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists across Canada joined together.  In Bolton, the two separate congregations followed suit, selecting the larger Bolton Wesley Church as their place of worship
  • With church union in 1925, Wesley Methodist Church became Bolton United Church


T.C. Prosser’s Map of Bolton, 1854. The location of W.M. Chapel (Wesleyan Methodist) is marked, before Nancy Street existed. Peel Archives.


Zion Chapel, built in 1852, after it had been moved to the rear of the Masonic Hall. Photo: Peel Archives, Coronation Women’s Institute fonds.

And the buildings?

  • Bolton’s Methodist cemetery is maintained at 116 Centennial Drive
  • In 1876, Zion Chapel was moved away from the corner of King and Nancy Streets to the rear of the Masonic Hall.  There it remained for the next 100 or so years, used latterly as storage, for three generations of Black’s masonry contractors – Henry Black, his son William Black and latterly by his grandson John Black 4
  • Bolton United Church still stands at 8 Nancy Street.  The original spire was removed in 1926 for safety reasons 5
Bolton Wesley Church. The steeple was removed in 1926.
  1. The hillside property was owned by Samuel Sterne and the plot for the Methodist part of the cemetery was paid for by James and Ellen Bolton
  2. Bolton United Church booklet, Our Bolton Heritage in the United Church 1951, p. 7
  3. ibid. p.11
  4. Bolton United Church booklet, A Century of Witness, 1876-1976, p.8
  5. ibid. p.36