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HALIFAX: Halifax-Northgate End Congregational Church History up to 1868.

HALIFAX.-NORTHGATE END. (PRESBYTERIAN, NOW UNITARIAN.)

It was opened in 1696. Heywood was invited to take part of the regular services in the new building. This he unwillingly declined, but preached at its opening. The Pastors of Northgate End have been-
  • 1696. Rev. NATHANIEL PRIESTLEY. He was one of Frankland's pupils, and was ordained, according to the Presbyterian form, in 1694, at Little Horton, together with Jonathan Wright and Accepted Lister. He was a member of a family well known among the Nonconformists in Halifax. He is spoken of by Thoresby as "ingenious," and by Dunton as "a man of good parts and excellent abilities, an universal scholar," having "a good collection of books." He was doubtless a young man of considerable ministerial qualifications. He married a widow, Mrs. Fourness, daughter of John Brearcliffe. In 1715, the congregation is reported to have been in number 600, sixteen of whom had votes for the county.
  • When Heywood declined to take part with Priestley in the regular services at Halifax, Rev. Joseph Dawson, of Morley, was invited to the alternate duty; he did not, however, consent, preferring to remain at Morley. But his son, Eli Dawson, of Horton, Bradford, undertook what his father had declined, and Priestley and Dawson regularly exchanged pulpits. Priestley died Sept. 5, 1728, and was buried in Halifax Church. He is described in the Northowram Register as "a worthy, eminent minister, a great loss especially to the congregations at Halifax and Bradford." His funeral sermon was preached by Rev. T. Dickenson, who speaks of his character and influence in no common terms.
  • After the death of Rev. T. Sharp, the congregation of Mill Hill, Leeds, had invited Priestley to become his successor. But he decided against their overtures, at the earnest remonstrance of the congregations at Halifax and Bradford.
  • 1728. Rev. ELI DAWSON succeeded to the pastorate. He was sole minister till his death in 1744. (see Bradford). A new meetinghouse was probably erected in his time.
  • 1744. Rev. SAMUEL THRELKELD, from Penrith (educated at Glasgow). The mother of Wordsworth, the poet, was niece to his wife. His daughter was married to Mr. W. Rawson (Halifax). Ob. 1766, and was buried in the meeting-house.
  • 1767. Rev. JOHN RALPH, from Stamford (educated Hoxton Acy. under Dr. Jennings). His daughter married Mr. Stansfield (Halifax), father of the present M.P. Mr. Ralph died 1795, having been minister twenty-eight years.
  • 1795. Rev. THOMAS BROADHURST (Hoxton Acy.). Removed to Bath 1797.
  • 1797. Rev. JOHN BICKERTON DEWHIRST. His pastorate was very brief
  • 1798. Rev. Dr. JOHN JONES, author of Latin Grammar, and Greek and English Lexicon. He married a daughter of Dr. Rees.
  • 1804. Rev. JOHN WILLIAMS, from Norton, Derbyshire. Removed 1810 to Mansfield.
  • 1812. Rev. RICHARD ASTLEY, a York student. Removed to Gloucester 1826.
  • 1827. Rev. JOSEPH ASHTON. 1828. Rev. WILLIAM TURNER. The congregation is now Unitarian.

Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2014
from the Appendix to
Congregationalism in Yorkshire
by James C. Miall, 1868.