ROTHERHAM: Rotherham Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The Rotherham Church, next in order of seniority, was founded in 1789, and worshipped in a building on Masborough Common. The site may still be distinguished by the grave-yard which adjoined the sanctuary, where reposes the dust of its first worshippers. For nearly fifty years the Church seems to have made but little progress. In 1835, Mr. Wm. Matthews—an excise officer—was pastor, and in that year Rev. Chas. Larom was instrumental in securing the present Westgate site; the reconstituted Church occupying its new home in 1837. It numbered only twenty-six members, but invited Rev. James Buck to its ministry.

He remained only three years, probably finding the debt of £700 a burden grievous to be borne. During the pastorate of Rev. A. Dyson (1848-56) this encumbrance was removed. The Rev. J. Ashmead succeeded Mr. Dyson, having come from Horton College. In 1859, he directed a movement to complete the original design of the chapel and to add much-needed accommodation for the schools. Its completion was made memorable by a visit from Rev. C. H. Spurgeon. Mr. Ashmead, who removed in 1863, was succeeded by the Revs. J. Arnold, G. Whitehead, and Henry Bonner; the last named left for Birmingham in 1876.

The Church now sought counsel of the Home Mission Committee, which introduced the Rev. J. Harper. Having resigned in 1880, he was followed in a helpful ministry of five years by Mr. Benjamin Lee, of Sheffield. During his presence we read of "Mr. John Whitehead, who has entered Rawdon College, and intends to offer himself for work on the Congo." The Rev. J. Collinson succeeded Mr. Lee, the Home Mission giving generous assistance to his support; but the Church had many difficulties, and he resigned in 1903, after seven years earnest service. The Church now remained pastorless, but received oversight from the minister at Doncaster, under whose guidance £1250 was spent in necessary building. Having accomplished these responsible concerns, the Church extended a call, in 1908, to Rev. J. T. Heselton.

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