YORK: York-St Saviours Gate Congregational Church History up to 1868.



The meeting-house at St. Saviour's Gate was erected 1692. It was built in the form of a cross, and was near to the residence of Sir J. Hewley. O. Heywood preached in it in 1693, and in the same year Thoresby, visiting York, heard Dr. Colton to his satisfaction. Heywood preached here again in 1796.

The ministers of St. Saviour's Gate were the following :-

  • 1692. THOMAS COLTON, M.D., educated at Leyden. He succeeded Ward in the pastorate. He married for his first wife a daughter of Ralph Ward, and for his second, the child of Sir Robert Duckinfield, of Duckinfield, a well-known Nonconformist. Colton was much esteemed by the Hewleys. Lady H. was very liberal to him, and remembered him in her will. Being a man of considerable property, Colton left a benefaction to the city, endowing a hospital for eight poor women. He preached Lady Hewley's funeral sermon in 1710.
  • Dr. Colton's assistants were Rev. Thomas Baxter, son of Rev. Nathaniel Baxter, of Sheffield, till 1678 (ob. 1710), and Rev. John Hotham after that date.
  • 1731. Rev. JOHN HOTHAM (Jollie's Acad.), succeeded Dr. Colton in the pastorate. He continued the week-day lectures, which had been begun by Mr. Ward, but at increasingly long intervals, till they quite died out. He had been a member of the church of Mr. Jollie of Sheffield, and was probably a Congregationalist. Mr. H. died 1756.
  • In the latter years of Mr. Hotham, Rev. -- Buck, of Bolton, was invited to become co-pastor. He, however, having declined-
  • 1732. Rev. JOHN BROOK was appointed to the co-pastorate. He is spoken of in the "Gent.'s Mag." as "eminent." He died in 1735.
  • 1735. Rev. JOHN ROOT, previously assistant to Mr. Whitter, Hull (whose daughter he married), became co-pastor till 1755.
  • 1756. Rev. NEWCOME CAPPE, son of Rev. Joseph Cappe, Leeds (studied under Dr. Aikin and Dr. Doddridge). Mr. C. was for a short time co-pastor with Mr. Hotham. He introduced Arianism into York. He was subsequently an intimate friend of Dr. Priestley, with whose opinions he sympathised. Latterly the congregation became very small.
  • Rev. CHARLES WELLBELOVED was assistant from 1791.
  • 1799 Rev. CHARLES WELLBELOVED became pastor. The congregation had now become entirely Unitarian. Mr. W.'s name is well known as one of the defendants in the suit instituted respecting Lady Hewley's trusts, of which he was a sub-trustee. He received from these trusts the annual sum of £80 as the preacher of St. Saviour's Gate Chapel. Ob. 1862, aet. 90.
  • Between the years 1752 and 1767 Rev. G. Whitefield paid several preaching visits to York. In the last year he was accompanied by Lady Huntingdon, Mr. Venn, and Capt. Scott, and a site was selected for a chapel, which was afterwards erected, in College Street. In 1779 Rev. W. Wren was sent thither. He was very devoted and earnest. Lady Huntingdon wished him to accept another appointment, but his ministry having been useful at York, he decided to remain, and withdrew from Lady H.'s connexion, 1780. A chapel was built for him, as an Independent, in Grape Lane. But he did not long survive this change, and died in Scarborough, 1784, aet. 33. A stone was erected to his memory, which is now in the school-room of Salem Chapel.
  • The Society became disorganised after his death, and in 1781, Rev. E. Parsons (Leeds) undertook the superintendence of the chapel for a year, but at the end of the time the services were discontinued. Application was again made to Lady Huntingdon, who sen t several ministers, and among the rest Mr. Watkins, under whom the congregation increased. Mr. W. being incapacitated by a fall from his horse, Mr. Wydown was sent to supply his place. But differences arose as to terms of `communion, and on Mr. Watkins's recovery a separation ensued, Mr. Wydown withdrawing with the disaffected. Mr. Watkins finding himself deserted, left York for Bradford, Wilts. He was succeeded by Mr. Jones and Mr. Robinson. The chapel was at length sold to the Kilhamites, afterwards to the Baptists, who ceased to have services in it about the year 1820.
  • In the meantime, Mr. Wydown erected a chapel in Jubbergate, which was opened in 1796. After some difficulties, Mr. W. was ordained, the ministers engaged being Rev. E. Parsons, J. Cockin, and Samuel Bottomley. Mr. W. soon left, became a prisoner of the French, and at last emigrated to America. He was succeeded by Mr. Thurgarland, who resigned, in consideration of a sum of money, in 1814, the congregation being then almost extinct. "Mr. T. remained as a schoolmaster, in a very unsatisfactory state spiritually, but was restored under Mr. Parson's ministry, and was admitted a member of the church in Lendal Chapel in 1836. He remained so till he died." The chapel was then taken up by the West Riding Itinerant Society, who resolved to erect a new chapel in Lendal. This building was opened Nov., 1816, by sermons from Revs. T. Raffles, Joseph Cockin, and S. Bradley. The cost of the chapel was upwards of £3,000.

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