LOW: Low-Row Congregational Church History up to 1868.



About the year 1690, or earlier, Philip Lord Wharton fitted up a shooting-box, called "Smarber Hall," situated near Low-row, five miles distant from the parish church at Grinton, to be used as a place of worship for "Protestant Dissenters." His lordship also gave two parcels of land in the county of Westmoreland, the rents of which were to be paid to the. minister One of these pieces of land is situated in the parish of Ravenstonedale,-the other in the township of Nateby, in the parish of Kirkby Stephen, and both are freehold. As far as can be ascertained, the following have been pastors of this chapel :-
  • 1690. Rev. J. HOLLAND, of Frankland's Academy. He left Low-row in 1694, for Norton, near Sheffield, and died in 1701.
  • Rev. JAMEs TAYLOR, of Frankland's Academy. Buried 1713.
  • 1712. Rev. J. BURGESS. He removed 1725 to Darwen.
  • 1725. Rey. TIMOTHY GARDNER, a pupil of Rev. Dr. Dixon, Whitehaven, from St. Helen's. He died in 1765, aet. 73. Probably an Arian.
  • 1766. Rev. JAMES BENN, (of Kendal Academy), from Blakley. Died May 2, 1782, aet. 57. He was son-in-law to Mr. Gardner.
  • 1782. Rev. ASHLEY MEANLEY, ''of Warrington and Daventry Academies), from Nantwich. He left, Nov. 1786, for Hucklow, and died at Stannington, near Sheffield.
  • 1787. Rev. DAVID SIMPSON, (of the Universities of St. Andrew's and Edinburgh), from Holcomb. He died March 22, 1808, Mt. 69.
  • 1807. Rev. JOHN ALLASON, (Of Homerton Academy), from Uppingham. He was at first assistant to Mr. Simpson, whom he succeeded. He died in 1836.
  • In 1809 a new chapel was erected, the site being given by Rev. T. Smith, then lord of the manor.
  • 1836. Rev. DANIEL DAVIS, (of Rotherham College). He remained only one year and six months.
  • 1838. Rev. JOHN BOYD, (of the University of Edinburgh), from Appleton-wiske. He still survives.
" The land is now held in trust as follows :- Mr. Boyd is to let and receive the rents so long as he remains the minister of the chapel, and at his retirement or death the trustees are to have the letting of said ]and, and to receive the rents, which they are to pay to the minister of Low-row Congregational Chapel, as his salary in all time to come. On the death of any of the trustees, the appointment of new trustees to fill up vacancies rests entirely with the members of the church and seat-holders, male and female; but none can be elected a trustee in future unless he is a member of a Congregational church in England.

The new trustees who are put in trust for the minister's house, Smarber Hall Chapel, the land in Westmoreland; and the present chapel at Low-row, are the following :- viz., Edward Broderick, of Summer Lodge, Swaledale, gentleman; John Knowles, of Gorton Lodge, Low-row, gentleman, (who were the two surviving trustees of the chapel); James Knowles, of Paradise, Low-row, gentleman; James Law, Esq.; Silas Scott, Esq.; and J. A Clapham, Esq.; all of Bradford; Wm. H. Conyers, Esq.; Thos. D. Yates, Esq.; and G. Scotson, Esq.; all of Leeds; John Louis Crossley, Esq., of Halifax; Titus Salt (the younger), Esq., of Saltaire; Richard C. Allen, of Hawes, in the parish of Aysgarth, gentleman; and Thomas Hunt, of Whitaside, in Swaledale, yeoman.

The present chapel being in great need of a thorough renovation, it is now proposed to make an effort to have it put in good repair, and rendered more comfortable, and also, if possible, to have the burying-ground attached to the chapel enlarged, which it is earnestly hoped may soon be accomplished.

The following notice respecting Low Row is found among the Scales' MSS. :-
" The endowment left by Lord Wharton to Smarber Hall Chapel was in great danger of being lost, but was secured by passing successively through the hands of three ministers. Mr. Taylor's only daughter married Mr. Gardner. His only daughter married Mr. Benn, who, on his father-in-law's death, left Blakley for the express purpose, and settled in Swaledale, when having just completed an undisputed possession of sixty years through Taylor, his daughter, and granddaughter, he died, in 1782. His daughter, afterwards Mrs. Stewart, of Low Row, most honourably fulfilled her father's intentions by making over the estate in trust to the Trustees of Lady Hewley's Fund, to be managed for the benefit of the congregation."

* Communicated by Rev. J. Boyd.- Scales' Scott, vol. i. p. 56.

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