In writing the story of the Churches in the Huddersfield District we shall review them, as in other chapters, according to their chronological order. The oldest cause is that at Salendine Nook. There is probably no Yorkshire Baptist Church more widely known. To the uninitiated its name suggests some pleasant valley
"Where low the little hamlets lie,
Beneath their little patch of sky
And little lot of stars."
But "The Nook" is 800ft. above sea level, standing on the edge of Lindley Moor. Although now a suburb of Huddersfield, its distance of two miles and a half from the town centre would make it, in the old days, a solitary place. Here through the long years Salendine Nook has borne a wonderful witness to our faith. It may well be said "this and that man was born in her", for, as a mother of Churches, she has no rival in the county. Of the fifteen other Churches in the District all—with perhaps the exception of Mirfield—may be traced directly or indirectly to the influence of Salendine Nook.
The early history of the Church has been already told by Principal Blomfield, and I shall only be required to trace its career through the nineteenth century. In 1795, the Rev. Robt. Hyde became pastor. Humble and poor, but studious, he was a close friend of Dr. Boothroyd, the commentator, then pastor of the Huddersfield Congregational Church. The congregation increasing, a new chapel was built in 1803, and towards the close of his long ministry a great revival took place, adding more than sixty members to the Church. Mr. Hyde died in 1838, being in the eighty-second year of his age, and the forty-third of his ministry. He was followed by Revs. James Macpherson (1839-44) and T. Lomas (1845-7). The next minister was Rev. John Stock, LL.D., who, coming in 1848, remained until 1857, when ill-health compelled his removal. There followed Revs. D. Crumpton (1858-65) and James Parker (1866-70).
In 1872, Dr. Stock returned, and remained until his death in 1884. He was widely known as a scholar, an author, and an acknowledged leader in the Denomination. In 1886, came Rev. John Thomas, M.A., a student from Bangor University, whose preaching gifts were highly appreciated at "The Nook"; he left in 1893, for Myrtle Street, Liverpool. During the interregnum that followed, the chapel was altered at a cost of 5000. In 1895, Rev. D. Witton Jenkins commenced a ministry which still continues. The Church full of years still flourishes and brings forth "fruit in old age." Its membership is greater than at any previous period, and its three schools number 600 scholars.
Salendine Nook has been marked throughout her history by a strong Calvinism, and has been blessed by some splendid personalities produced by that stern doctrine. For many years it has been the custom to subject the morning sermon to a most careful criticism, in the hours between the morning and afternoon service, by the members who stayed at "The Nook" for dinner, but this is now somewhat modified by an evening service which has displaced the afternoon session. The Church has been enriched through the years by the presence of a number of men who, unspoiled by temporal prosperity, have given of their wealth and service to the cause at Salendine Nook. Amongst these the family name of Shaw stands out conspicuously. In words written by her present pastor Salendine Nook" is old but not infirm, wrinkled but not decayed, alive with the everlasting life of God."