PONTEFRACT: Pontefract Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The present Baptist Church at Pontefract is of recent formation, but there is good evidence of a Baptist community at Pontefract during the Commonwealth period. Amongst reports made to the Archbishop of York, concerning some of the Yorkshire Deaneries, in 1669, Pontefract is mentioned as having three Conventicles, the Presbyterians numbering thirty, the Quakers eighty, and the Anabaptists thirty. The entry from the report says, "Many of the male sex were in actual armes against the King. See the returne itselfe." The actual return I have as yet been unable to discover, and it appears not to be in the archives of the Diocesan Registry at York.

The present cause began in humble fashion in 1905, when a room was rented at six shillings a week, and seats were purchased from the Mechanics' Institute. The promoters of the new endeavour were Mr. E. Rusling and Mr. J. Greening, and a small committee was formed to carry on the work. Owing to the death of their landlord the room was offered for sale, and the Yorkshire Baptist Association purchased the place for £240. Mr. P. D. McGowan was of great assistance to the cause, and with the help of the Lay Preachers the services are properly maintained. A Sunday School and other organisations have been very successfully undertaken, and under the labours of Mr. F. Frost, the lay pastor, the little Church was cheered by eleven baptisms during the last Associational year.

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