LEEDS: Leeds-Mill Hill Congregational Church History up to 1868.
The history of the Mill Hill Presbyterian congregation is extremely interesting, though we can only give a brief abstract of its earlier periods. The chapel was built after the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672, and had originally, it is stated, four ministers,* Stretton, Sharp, Todd, and Sale.
- Rev. RICHARD STRETTON had been ejected from Petworth, and was afterwards chaplain to Lord Fairfax, on whose death he became minister of the new chapel.*1 After six or seven years' residence, he removed to London. Cornelius Todd (ej. Helaugh) was the son of Rev. Robert Todd (ej. St. John's, Leeds). After some time at Leeds, he withdrew to Ellenthorp (see p. 259). Of Thomas Sharp, M.A., an account has been already given (see p. 234). James Sale had been formerly minister of the New Church, Leeds. After his ejectment, he usually resided at Pudsey. He died of a palsy, after being incapacitated for several years, April 17, 1769, and was buried at Calverley. On the removal to London of Rev. Richard Stretton -
- 1677. Rev. THOMAS SHARP, M.A., became sole pastor. He was twice married, his second wife being Sale's daughter. He resided at Horton, Bradford, usually riding over on Sunday morning, preaching twice, and returning in the evening. At length he took a house at Leeds, though he did not relinquish his residence at Bradford. He declined the contributions of his poorer flock, having property of his own, nor would he receive money for occasional services. He wrote verses, which were much esteemed by his friends. He was a man of considerable pulpit power, and was much admired by his flock, one of whom (Thoresby) speaks of him as "incomparable." His death at Leeds is recorded by his friend and executor, Thoresby, and must have been very affecting. Sharp was succeeded by
- Rev. TIMOTHY MANLOVE, M.D. He had settled at Pontefract, whence he with difficulty removed. He was a man of ability, education and piety, though somewhat severe in temper. He did not long remain at Leeds,*2 but left for Newcastle (1698) where he died soon after. His successor was-
- 1698. Rev. PETER PETERS, spoken of in the Northowram Register as "a choice young man, of excellent parts and usefulness." His ministry lasted from 1698 to 1705. After him came-
- Rev. WILLIAM PENDLEBURY, M.A. (Frankland's Acy.), from Kendal, who had studied in Scotland. He died Nov. 12, 1710. He was followed by-
- Rev. JOSEPH CAPPE. Whether in his time the doctrines preached in the chapel verged towards Unitarianism is uncertain, but there is no doubt that during the ministry of his successor-
- 1748. Rev. THOMAS WALKER, M.A., they did so. Mr. W.'s ministry extended from 1748 to 1763.
- 1763. Rev. NATHANIEL WHITE followed, 1763 to 1766. He was in turn succeeded by
- 1767. Rev. JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, LL.D., 1767 to 1773. Of him we have spoken elsewhere (p. 43). The congregation was now become altogether Unitarian.
*1 Wilson's "Dissenting Churches," vol. iii. p. 129.
*2 During his ministry, Thoresby manifested those tendencies which ultimately led him into conformity. Manlove sharply rebuked him; whether with judgment, it is now impossible to decide.
from the Appendix to
Congregationalism in Yorkshire
by James C. Miall, 1868.