Methodism came to Lincolnshire in 1765 beginning at Grimsby. It spread down to the east coast towns and then turned westwards to reach Sleaford in 1815. John Wesley visited Bourne in 1782, putting up at the Golden Lion in West Street. He preached in the Market Place and held a prayer meeting the following morning at five o’clock. No doubt some Thurlby people attended these meetings and joined in welcoming the great evangelis.
The Stamford Circuit was formed in 1807 and Thurlby was for a time included in it. The mother of William Hayes is said to have introduced Methodism into the village, and for a while services were held in cottages and barns. A Sunday School was started in 1830 and a Chapel was built in 1832. The site, in High Street, was the gift of the Jackson family who had come from Crowland and had set up business as blacksmiths ana cordwainers.
The first load of bricks was carted by Edis Smith. The Chapel was opened in June 1832 by a local preacher from Pointon named Wright. When the Chapel in High Street was built, in 1832, the singing was led by string and wind instruments, such as Oboe, ‘Cello and Violin. In 1852 a Pipe Organ was installed, and later a Harmonium.
In 1854 there was a split amongst the Methodists, and the Free Methodists separated themselves from the Wesleyans. At first the new connection worshipped in a barn in Whitechapel Row. Later a building was erected for them by John Wade in Crown Lane. This building was later converted into four cottages.
The Top Chapel was built in 1861, at a cost of £280 on a site bought from John Fields for £25. It was opened by John Gutteridge of Manchester. The adjoining Schoolroom was added in 1904 and was opened by Percy Rawson of Sheffield, the Liberal candidate for the Stamford constituency.