THIRSK: Thirsk Congregational Church History up to 1868.



In 1662 Rev. Matthew Hill was ejected from Thirsk. He afterwards preached for a time privately at York, but with considerable risk. In 1715 Thirsk is reported as Independent on Neal's List, having sixty hearers. In 1758 a Nonconformist minister preached here, but his name and denomination are not known. In 1792 Rev. Mr. Browning, of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, visited Thirsk, and preached under an elm tree with some success. Rev. W. Morris, employed as an itinerant in the North Riding by a London society, preached here fortnightly in 1797; but the people could not, or would not, pay the small expenses of himself and horse. The Revs. Messrs. Howell and Jackson afterwards obtained leave of the lord of the manor to preach in the Tolbooth, which they did as often. as they were able. They undertook at length a regular fortnightly Sunday service with most encouraging results, and it was determined that a commodious place of worship should be erected. By the aid of some Christians at Green Hammerton and Knaresborough this was at length effected, and a chapel was opened in the year 1804 by Rev. W. Vint (Idle) and Graham (Darlington).

Mr. Jackson, with Mr. Storey,*1 now undertook to preach at Thirsk in connexion with Boroughbridge and Green Hammerton. A large congregation was soon gathered. A gallery was erected and a church formed April, 1805.

The following is a list of pastors :-

  • 1809. Rev. SAMUEL NEALE. Ordained 1810. He left for Ossett 1815, and it is believed conformed to the Establishment.
  • 1815. Rev. HENRY PAWLING (Hackney Acy.), left 1817 for South of England.
  • 1819. Rev. JOSEPH JEFFERSON, from Basingstoke. A memoir of him was given in the "Evangelical Magazine" for January, 1825. He was a considerable contributor to the History of Thirsk, though his son, Rev. J. B. Jefferson, Attercliffe, was the ostensible author. He preached before the annual assembly of the London Missionary Society at one of its early meetings. Mr. B. died June 12, 1825.
  • 1825. Rev. JAMES BUCKLEY (Idle Acy.). Left for Peniston 1833. He now resides at Stockport, without pastoral charge.
  • 1834. Rev. ABRAHAM PICKLES (Airedale Coll.). He died at Leeds, 1865.
  • 1844. Rev. EDWARD GATLEY, from Lichfield. Removed to Tosside 1854. He died at Knottingley, January 14, 1866, and was buried at Thirsk.
  • A new chapel was opened in 1845, but was so imperfectly built as to render it necessary to take it down and rebuild it.
  • May,1855. Rev. HENRY HOWARD (Pickering Acy.), from Norwich, the present minister (in 1868).
During his ministry the chapel has been re-erected, 1866. Sermons at the opening were preached by Revs. Dr. Campbell, E. Conder, and W. Thomas.

* Aided by Rev. H. Howard.
*1 This gentleman was intended for the Church of England, but relinquished that design. He afterwards joined the Wesleyans.

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