RAWDON: Rawdon Cragg Baptist Church History up to 1912.
RAWDON, CRAGG BAPTIST CHURCH
The interesting story of this Church prior to the year 1800 has been referred to in an earlier part Cragg Baptist, of the volume. It is, however, worth recording that an entry in the Church book, dated about 1724, by John Marshall, of Low Hall, Yeadon, tells how "the first-fruits of us" were gathered by William Mitchel, and that some time elapsed before "God further opened our eyes to the truth of Believers' Baptism," and how they were then added to "a people of the same faith and practice in Lancashire." It would appear, therefore, that these Rawdon folk were not at first a Baptist community, but became so after some years of existence.
In the early nineteenth century, the Church, apparently a struggling cause, owed much to Dr. Steadman, of Bradford. Between the years 1811 and 1815 it felt the influence of the great Methodist Revival which swept over the district, and in 1818, under the pastorate of the Rev. Samuel Hughes, the Sunday school in connection with the Church was started in the school-room close to the manse at Nether Yeadon, and affiliated to the Leeds Sunday School Union.
Mr. Hughes is still re-membered by old inhabitants of the district. He is spoken of as "a little stiff man, with knee breeches : a good man, who would give the coat off his back." Evidently somewhat careless as to personal appearance, he would sometimes appear in the pulpit with "wisps of straw and hay about him," probably due to the fact that he had been attending to the creature comforts of his cow before he ministered to the spiritual well-being of his flock.
Amongst the pastors who followed were Rev. W. Liddell (1841-46), who left to become the pastor of Pembroke Chapel, Liverpool; Rev. Robert Holmes (1847-74) who was both a versatile writer and an able and eloquent preacher; Rev. Thomas Burdett, M.A., some-time tutor of Haverfordwest College, who died in the pulpit one Sunday morning, in 1881; and the Rev. A. P. Fayers, who became pastor in 1883, and for twenty-one years exercised a most gracious and helpful ministry. Rawdon Church is still prosperous and exercises an influence for good in the neighbourhood. The present chapel is the third in the history of the Church, and was erected in 1891. The present pastor, Rev. A. H. West, B.A., B.D., settled at Rawdon in 1905.
from the "Present Churches" section of
The Baptists of Yorkshire
by Rev. J. Brown Morgan
and Rev. C.E. Shipley