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Help and advice for SOWERBY BRIDGE: Sowerby Bridge Steep Lane Baptist Church History up to 1912.

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SOWERBY BRIDGE: Sowerby Bridge Steep Lane Baptist Church History up to 1912.

Sowerby Bridge Steep Lane Baptist Church History up to 1912.


The Steep Lane Church, Sowerby Bridge, sprang from the Independent Church at Sowerby, owing to a secession of members on account of the Arian views of the minister. A chapel was built at Steep Lane in 1751, but it did not become a Baptist Church until 1779. The change was probably due to its minister—Rev. John Dracup—accepting Baptist principles. The early ministers of Steep Lane were James Bartle (1779-84); John Dracup (second pastorate, 1784-95) Wm. Wrathall (1796-1800); John Moss (1800-6). In 1803, nine members were dismissed to form the Church at Rishworth. Mr. Isaac Mann, from Horton College, sustained a brief pastorate at Steep Lane, to be succeeded, in 1811, by Rev. Thomas Milns. During the twelve years of this pastorate a new chapel was built. He was followed by Lawrence Shaw (1824-29), and Joseph Shaw (1829-35).

The Church then remained without a minister for sixteen years. In 1851, Rev. W. E. Goodman settled at Steep Lane, and during the six years of his stay the new school was built. Rev. W. Nicholson accepted the pastoral office in 1857. He was a man of considerable attainments and an author of several works. After two years and a half he resigned, but his people urged him to remain with them :—" If you will not leave us, we will love you, pray for you, and build you a comfortable house." Mr. Nicholson remained until 1863. The subsequent history of Steep Lane is the life story of Rev. Wm. Haigh. Having come in 1864, a young man of twenty-three, he has devoted his life to the building up of this Church, which stands as an outpost of our faith on the steep hillside, where the moors stretch towards Lancashire. His zeal soon resulted in the opening of a new school in 1874, and a new chapel in 1875.

The £3000 expended was raised in ten years. Mr. Haigh, after forty-six years service, resigned his charge in 1910. He came to a membership of seventy; he left a Church roll of 210, a cause stronger than at any period in its history, and a memory of zealous and godly labour which Steep Lane will never forget. The Church has sent three of her sons into the ministry. To visit Steep Lane is to be at once conscious of an earnest and spiritual Church fellowship. Although it continually suffers from the migration of families which move down from the hillside to the valley towns, it yet successfully maintains its congregation and its activities. The present pastor is the Rev. E. Porter.

Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2014
from the "Present Churches" section of
The Baptists of Yorkshire
by Rev. J. Brown Morgan
and Rev. C.E. Shipley