TODMORDEN: Todmorden Roomfield Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The Church in the district which — according to our Association Year Book—boasts the greatest claim to long descent, is the Roomfield Church, Todmorden. Roomfield considers herself to be the direct descendant of the ancient cause at Rodhill End, which was disbanded in 1783.

The surviving trustee sold the chapel, in 1807, for £65, the proceeds being given to the new Millwood chapel, which afterwards became the cause at Roomfield. In 1807, some Baptists, previously connected with Rodhill End, were expelled from a Paedo-Baptist Church which they had joined, on account of their inconvenient propagation of Baptist principles. These at first gathered together in the disused meeting-house at Rodhill End, where they made a brief sojourn before building the chapel at Millwood in 18o8. Mr. John Sutcliffe, the surviving trustee aforementioned, became their first pastor. He was a "stuff maker", and a man of considerable means and influence, but he was only spared to the Church for six years.

He was succeeded by Mr. John Driver (1816-29), who supplemented his small salary by weaving. Mr. Driver's ministry was followed by five pastorates of so brief a nature that they only covered twelve years. A long pastorless interval followed before Rev. T. Dyall accepted the call in 1868, which he resigned in 1870. The Church was now to enter on a new experience, for, in 1871, the Rev. Henry Briggs began a ministry destined to continue for thirty-seven years. With the advent of Mr. Briggs a new era of industry began. In 1877, the Church removed to its new home at Roomfield. Here a spacious chapel had been built, with a commodious school, and, in 1883, a manse and caretaker's house were added.

Roomfield has been enriched by the helpfulness of many friends. In a message of thanks which the Church sent to the Hope Church, Hebden Bridge, in 1881, it acknowledged with gratitude that "from first to last we have received £i000 from your congregation." During the years of Mr. Briggs' ministry, Roomfield has raised 10,000 for building and property purposes. In 1908, their pastor resigned his charge with many tokens of his people's love and sorrow, and was succeeded in the following year by Rev. A. Nightingale.

* The Separatists of Halifax were evidently a bold people, for, in 1675, Thomas Wakefield, of Halifax, was indicted for not attending church, and for calling the constable "a fforsworne rogue, and saying the King's precept was a ffratching paper."

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