PENISTON: Peniston - Bull House Congregational Church History up to 1868.



In 1649, the Vicar of Peniston was the Rev. Henry Swift. He was ejected on St. Bartholomew's day, 1662, and afterwards imprisoned for three months in York. After his liberation he returned to his charge, which, by some inadvertence of the persecuting party, he held till his death, 1689, having been minister 40 years. During his imprisonment Rev. Peter Naylor, ejected from Houghton, Lancashire, afterwards at Wakefield, preached frequently for him. Swift was succeeded by Rev. Edmund Hough, who maintained the same principles as his predecessor, and died in 1719. OLIVER HEYWOOD preached here in 1655.

About two miles from Peniston is Bull House, now the name of a hamlet, but originally the residence of the Riches, a Nonconformist family of high respectability. Many of the ejected ministers found a refuge here; and a chapel was built before 1692. The ministers were-

  • 1692. DANIEL DENTON, who about 1715 had a congregation of 200 persons. He died 1720-1.
  • WILLIAM HALLIDAY, here in 1740. He was domestic chaplain to Hans Busk, Esq., at Bull House. He had been formerly classical tutor at Daventry. He removed to Keighley 1771. He died at Halifax.
  • BENJAMIN SHAW, who was here in 1748, and died in 1771. Whether he was Shaw's immediate successor is not known. The names of RAYNER and LEWIS occur without dates.
  • 1772. THOMAS HALLIDAY (from Keighley, educated at Daventry). He remained till 1793. In 1810, having engaged in some iron-works, he failed in business; after which he became a preacher at Diss, Norfolk. He was probably an Arian.
  • Rev. -- REYNER (from Northowram Acy.), probably succeeded. Mention is also made of JOHN HEWITT, once a merchant at Sheffield, for a time a preacher in the Methodist New Connexion, then a preacher at Peniston, who relinquished the ministry and resumed business. He became ultimately an Unitarian. Afterwards the place seems to have sunk into decline.
Bull-House chapel is still used for Divine service, at least, once on the Lord's Day, though a church exists there no longer. The place has been in the hands of the Wesleyans for half a century. It is said that a school-master, named Morton, having allowed 91 acres of land, belonging to the chapel, to be sold under its market value, endeavoured to give partial compensation by leaving to per annum to keep the chapel open, on condition that the minister or school-master should be a Wesleyan.

Bull House Hall, formerly the seat of the Riches, now belongs to Lord Houghton, who represents that family *. He stands in some relation to the chapel, to which he pays an endowment of £ 1 o per annum. It may be doubted whether the present settlement would bear a legal inquiry, especially as Watts's hymns are required to be used in worship. The minister is elected by the ratepayers, and the plan thus resembles Bramhope (see 243) and Long Houghton.

The Bosviles and Wordsworths were also Puritan families of considerable property in this vicinity.

* Richard Rodes, Esq., married Martha, daughter of Elk. Rich, of Bull House, Esq., and Mary, his sister, married William Rookes, of Rodes Hall, Esq.

Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2014
from the Appendix to
Congregationalism in Yorkshire
by James C. Miall, 1868.