IDLE: Idle Congregational Church History up to 1868.



Calamy makes mention of Rev. THOMAS SMALLWOOD, who was at one time chaplain to Lord Fairfax, and afterwards to Major-General Lambert. At the Restoration he was removed from the living of Batley, but preached afterwards at Idle Chapel, till the year 1662. He is said to have been "a moderate Congregationalist" bold and active, peculiarly skilful in arousing sinners, and very successful." The Five-mile Act drove him to Flanshaw House, near Wakefield, where he died, Nov. 24, 1667, aet. 60. After the ejectment, however, the pulpit of the (now) Episcopal Chapel, at Idle, was sometimes occupied by Nonconformist ministers. Heywood records his preaching there in 1688 and 1689, to numerous and excited congregations, and mentions with great praise Catherine Ledgard, belonging probably to a Nonconformist family in the village. The Rev. Thomas Johnson, of Painthorp (Wakefield), occupied the pulpit during two years. Hunter says, "he laid the foundation of the Dissenting interest in this place." A meeting-house appears to have been adapted for worship soon after the Revolution, at which Mr. Johnson officiated. Accepted Lister (usually called Ceppy Lister) frequently preached here. A regular chapel was afterwards erected (1717), and two fields were presented for the maintenance of a minister.
  • 1715. Rev. JOHN BUCK became pastor. He was in 1728 and 1729 a recipient of the Hewley fund. He removed to Bolton, Lancashire, 1729. In 1716 there were eighty hearers.
  • He was succeeded by Rev. NICHOLAS BEALE, whose tombstone was discovered on the floor of the chapel beneath the pews. He died Sept. 26, 1734, aet. z8.
  • 1729. Rev. J. HUTHWAITE, from Warley. He died at Idle, June 25, 1766, æt. 77, as appears from a monument in the chapel. He left the congregation in a state of great declension.
  • 1765. Rev. JOSEPH DAWSON, from Daventry Academy, afterwards at Glasgow University (not related to Dawsons, Morley.) To increase his income (£40 per ann.), he maintained a school, which gained considerable repute. He practised medicine for the benefit of the inhabitants. After a ministry of several years he became the manager of extensive iron-works, having, in conjunction with several others, purchased the estate of Royds Hall, Bradford, now Lowe Moor. He was a man of great liberality and kindness, though an Arian in sentiment. He relinquished the congregation at Idle in 1790.
  • 1790. Rev. WILLIAM VINT, from Northowram Academy. Soon after his coming, the two fields above mentioned were discovered to abound in stone, and were sold for £1300, thus increasing the minister's income. The congregation advanced, and a new chapel arose in 1794. Mr. Vint was a man of talent and education, with a commanding presence and good address. He laboured with much zeal and fidelity for forty years. Of the Idle Academy, which was under Mr. Vint's presidency, we have spoken elsewhere (see p. 187). Before the academy was removed to Bradford, in 1832, it was intended that Mr. Vint should remove with it. This wish, was, however, never fulfilled. At the time of the opening of the college Mr. Vint was laid aside by sickness. He died March 13, 1834, æt. 66. He was buried in the old chapel, having been minister forty-four years. A tablet was erected by ministers educated under his care, "as a feeble testimony of their esteem for his character, their admiration of his piety and talents, and their gratitude for his paternal and unvarying solicitude for their welfare."
  • 1830. Rev. JOSEPH STRINGER (Idle Acy.). He married a daughter of Mr. Vint, became his assistant, and afterwards succeeded him. He was a useful and acceptable minister. He was secretary to Airedale College, on its removal. After a ministry of seventeen years he died, much lamented, Dec. 20, 1847, aet. 46.
  • 1848. Rev. WILLIAM ATHERTON, from Bingley. During the preceding ministry the chapel had been crowded. In Mr. A.'s time a small school-room, and afterwards a new chapel, were erected, capable of accommodating nearly woo
  • persons. The chapel was opened March, 1850. But at the end of three Sundays after its opening, Mr. A. was seized with a fatal illness, and died July 16, 1850, yet. 34.
  • 1851. Rev. HENRY OLLERENSHAW, from Oakengates. His preaching proved extremely attractive, and the church increased in numbers. A chapel was erected during his ministry, in Windhill. Mr. O. removed to Hull, Dec. 1855-
  • Sept. 1856. Rev. SIMEON DYSON, the present minister (in 1868). During his pastorate a debt of £400 has been removed. On the 10th June the foundation-stone of new day and Sunday-schools was laid, and it is intended forthwith to erect a new parsonage.
The present (1868) position of the church at Idle is not unworthy of its past history. Peace and progress have marked the period of Mr, Dyson's ministry.

* Aided by Rev. S. Dyson.

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