NORMANTON: Normanton Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The Normanton Church is the result of an effort made by the Committee of the Home Mission, who opened the Co-operative Hall for worship on November 9th, 1873. For some months the services were continued, but to reach the people it was found that visitation and pastoral oversight were needed. The Committee obtained the services of the Rev. John Meyers, who began his ministry on the first Lord's Day of August, 1874. The congregations increasing, it was found necessary to seek some more commodious place, and a site was purchased in High Street for £300. The chapel was opened for public worship, May 7th, 1878. On November 19th, the Autumnal Meetings of the Association were held in the new chapel, and in the evening a Church was formed, consisting of thirty-two members. The Rev. John Meyers was then chosen pastor, and the meeting closed with the observance of the Lord's Supper, the Rev. W. C. Upton, of Beverley, presiding. Until January 5th, 1882, the Church was managed by a Committee, but from that date seven deacons have been annually elected.

In 1883 Mr. Meyers retired, after having served the Church faith-fully for nine years. In 1884, Mr. J. T. Heselton, of Rawdon College, took up the work. The Church had now grown to a membership of seventy-four. For sixteen years Mr. Heselton laboured and left the Church with a member-ship of eighty-five. He was followed by the Rev. J. Young, who worked for three years with great earnestness, and during this time an organ was purchased and an organ chamber built. In December, 1904, the present pastor, Rev. J. E. Shephard, settled. Up to this time an ever-growing Sunday School had met in the body of the Chapel, which, together with a kitchen and a small classroom were all the available premises.

In May, 1905, it was resolved to purchase additional land and start a building fund. On Saturday, June 16th, 1906, the memorial stones were laid, and on Monday, October 2nd, Sir George White, M.P., President of the National Sunday School Union, opened the premises. He spoke in the highest terms of the nine class-rooms; he "had seen nothing in the whole of his experience to be compared with them." Some 2000 were expended in the schools, caretaker's house, and reseating of the chapel. The work has been amply justified, for on Sunday afternoons the main hall is filled with young people. The last two years have witnessed the removal of a large number of earnest workers, and some who were numbered among the pioneers of the movement. Change is inevitable in a mining district, yet amidst it all a Church is being reared which has more than justified its existence.

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