HUDDERSFIELD: Huddersfield Pole Moor Baptist Church History up to 1912.



Pole Moor, which even to-day is a place of scattered dwellings and sparse population, must have been a wild and primeval spot when, towards the close of the 18th century, the Baptists first found their way there. In 1788 they came to Slaithwaite, but, as the whole of the village was the property of the Earl of Dartmouth, no land could be obtained. They were compelled to go two miles further, to the freeholders of Scammondon, who consented to their building a chapel on some waste land, in 1790. Some trouble ensued with the Lord of the Manor, to whom they had to pay a ground-rent until the land was finally purchased in 1817.

Mr. Bruce first ministered to the Church (1788-91), although he does not appear to have been ordained as pastor - he left and went to Manchester. The Rev. C. Bamford followed, from 1793 to 1804, and fifty were baptised during his ministry., which was terminated by death. He was succeeded, in 1808, by Mr. Abraham Webster, who found a Church so much divided on matters of doctrine that a secession took place. He however, was not left without seals to his ministry, ere he removed, in 1818, to Hebden Bridge. His salary at Pole Moor was £48 per annum, but he kept a day school, and his people made an annual collection for the support of the pastor's cow.

Mr. Lawrence Shaw, who followed, had a troubled pastorate of five years, his views being more liberal than Pole Moor could appreciate, but he baptised fifty converts before removing to Steep Lane. The Church then invited Mr. Webster to return, which he did, but, after four years of happy ministry, he passed away in 1828. The Rev. H. W. Holmes accepted the pastorate in 1829, and found here a work that engaged him for forty-five years. Of his long and honourable life among his people space permits but little to be said. Amongst the happenings of these forty-five years the old chapel was freed from debt and a school was built, and in 1849 a school was opened at Scape Goat Hill.

In 1859, the present Pole Moor chapel was completed, having cost £1800. In 1871, twenty-one members of Pole Moor founded the Church at Scape Goat Hill. Mr. Holmes through all the years not only ministered to his own Church, but was the friend and spiritual adviser of the whole countryside. He resigned in 1874, and three months after passed to his rest. His successor, Rev. J. Evans (1875-93), reaped much of the harvest which Mr. Holmes had so faithfully sown, forty-four persons confessing Christ in the first year of his ministry. Rev. T. Isles (1897-1901), was followed by Rev. H. Rolfe (1902-09). The present minister is Rev. W. Turpitt, B.A.

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