After the split in 1797, the trustees of the Epworth Wesleyan chapel were split between the MNC Kilham family and the Wesleyans. There followed a legal dispute when MNC and Wesleyans held services on alternate Sundays till MNC were convinced they did not have a claim. The MNC organised the first Sunday school in the area, in Thomas Kilham’s (brother of Alex) watch shop. Services were held in a barn adjacent to the Kilham home, till the 1803 Providence MNC chapel opened. This was replaced by the Kilham chapel in 1860- which was opened by arguably the leading layman of the MNC – the potter John Ridgeway of Hanley, Stoke on Trent.
After the split the Wesleyans stationed some of their big hitters in Epworth- Zechariah Taft and his wife Mary, who operated as an unpaid itinerant, together with Mary’s brother John Barritt.