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BRIGHOUSE: Brighouse Congregational Church History up to 1868.

Brighouse Congregational Church History up to 1868.


In 1662, Rev. William Ashley was silenced at Raistrick, though he had no living.

Among those who came from considerable distances to the preaching of Venn and that of his curate, the Rev. -- Burnet (afterwards of Elland), was Benjamin Morton, a farmer of Brighouse. When Venn removed from Huddersfield, Morton and his neighbours, feeling their need of Evangelical teaching, invited some Congregational ministers to preach to them, and at length resolved to erect a chapel, opened about 1778. It was small, and without galleries; capable of containing about 300 persons. Its completion was not accomplished without much difficulty, owing to the want of sufficient funds.

The pulpit of the chapel thus erected was occupied during some time by Mr. Scholefield (father of the late Greek Professor at Cambridge). He remained, however, but a short time, and left for Henley-on-Thames. He died at Over (Cheshire). Rev. -- Smith, who was afterwards at Leek, succeeded him, but his stay was also brief. Neither of these was ordained. The successive pastors have been :-

  • 1782. Rev. SAMUEL LOWELL, who had previously resided with his family at Halifax; ordained 1786. His labours were very successful, and by his exertions the debt on the chapel was removed. He removed to Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1789, at the recommendation of Rev. J. Clayton, sen., and afterwards to Bridge Street, Bristol. During his stay, a minister's house was begun. It was finished for his successor.
  • Rev. JOHN MELDRUM, author of a work entitled, "The Incarnation of the Son of God." He collected money in various parts of England and Scotland for the chapel-house completion. Among other contributors was Lady Glenorchy, who took much interest in the progress of religion in Yorkshire. Mr. Meldrum removed, in 1786, to Hatherlow, Cheshire.
  • Rev. ELI HOLLINGWORTH, During his ministry the congregation declined. Removed to Sowerby.
  • 1800. Rev. WILLIAM NORTHEND (Heckmondwike Acy., from Bridlington and Haslingden.). He married a daughter of Mr. Hesketh. Northowram. The congregation did not improve under his ministry. He resigned in 1810, and lived in retirement, preaching occasionally.
  • Whilst things were thus declining, John Holland, Esq., of Slead-hall, had received spiritual benefit from the ministry of the Rev. Joseph Cockin, Halifax. After his marriage, he and Mrs. Holland attended at Bridge-end, but disrelishing the ministry, they, with some others, withdrew and assembled for worship at Slead-syke. In 1809, Mr. Crisp was sent from Idle Acy. to preach to them. In the end, an arrangement was made, and Mr. Northend was induced to retire.
  • 1810. Rev. J. H. CRISP. During his faithful ministry, a gallery, school-room, and vestry were added to the chapel, which was also made freehold. After thirty years' pastorship, Mr. Crisp resigned his charge in the year 1842. with the affectionate regards of his former flock.
  • 1842. Rev. ROBERT BELL (Airedale Coll , from Sowerby-bridge.) Land was now purchased for enlarging the burial-ground, and for a new chapel. The church and congregation made considerable progress; but in 1851, Mr. Bell was compelled, through ill-health, to resign his charge and to retire from the ministry.
  • 1853. Rev. ROBERT HARLEY (Airedale Coll.), ordained Sept. 13, 1854. On the same day, the foundation-stone of a new chapel and school-room was laid by J. Crossley, Esq. The building was opened in January, 1856. The chapel (plain Italian) accommodates 775 adults, and about 400 children. Underneath is a large school-room. Cost, exclusive of site and school room furniture, 43,300. Upwards of 600 children are taught in the school. The church has steadily grown.
  • A few years ago, Mr. Harley received the honorary distinction of F.R.S., on the ground of his original contributions to mathematical science. He was Professor of mathematics and logic in Airedale College, Removed Feb. 1868, to Leicester.
  • In 1864, a minister's house was erected in Newlands, Raistrick, at a cost of £1,000. The whole of the amount was contributed by the congregation, without extraneous help. The pulpit is now vacant.

* Aided by Rev. R. Harley, F.R.S.

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