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BRADFORD: Bradford-Chapel Lane Congregational Church History up to 1868.

BRADFORD-CHAPEL LANE. (PRESBYTERIAN.)

In 1717 or 1758, a new meetinghouse was built in the Town of Bradford. Cost £340 3s. 5d.; part of the furnishings were afterwards brought from Howley Hall, when dismantled. The ground was given by Robert Stansfield, who married a daughter of Rev. T. Sharp. She died Oct. 3, 1722. Dickenson, in the Northowram Register, calls her "a very valuable, useful woman."
  • In 1726, Madam Reyner, of G. Houghton, was buried in Wibsey chapel.
  • Mr. Dawson removed to Halifax 1728.
  • 1731. Rev. JOSHUA HARDCASTLE. On the Hewley fund. He died in Bradford; though some accounts say he removed to Worksworth. Both may be correct.
  • 1753. Rev. JOHN SMITH, son, and for a time successor, of Rev. Matthew Smith, Mixenden. John Smith was related to the Sharps; his mother having been a daughter of the younger branch of that family. He was a diligent pastor, but was probably an Arian. He published a volume of sermons, principally his father's, and a "Treatise on Natural and Revealed Religion."
  • During his ministry there was a great declension in the Evangelical truth set forth in his sermons. It was then the custom, handed down from the Puritans, to rehearse, on Lord's day evenings, the discourses which had been preached during the day. This duty was assigned to a Mr. Swaine, who, however, instead of the sermons preached on that day, often substituted those of Smith's predecessors, of which he had taken notes years before, deeming them of far superior excellence. The decadence of the Reformed doctrines in Bradford was much mourned over by the pious inhabitants, and the desire for their restoration had been much stimulated by the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. Many persons at this time walked every Sunday to Leeds, to attend the ministry of Edwards and Whitaker.
  • At this time Swaine's influence prevented the election of Rev. W. Graham (Halifax.)
  • 1768. Rev. JOHN DEAN, M.A. (Glasgow University, from S. Shields). He was minister 45 years, during which time the congregation became Unitarian.

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