SEDBERGH: Sedbergh Congregational Church History up to 1868.



There was an ancient chapel at Garsdale, six miles east of Sedberg, which was endowed; but both chapel and endowment are now lost. Mr. Scales says (MS.): "First the endowment was bartered to a person who left the country without paying the purchase-money, and afterwards the building itself was sold, and is now occupied as a private dwelling or dwellings." One of the ministers at Garsdale was Mr. McMurray, a friend of Scott, of Heckmondwike, whom he united with Cranstoun, of Greenhow-hill, and Gardner, of Low-row, in ordaining as an evangelist, 1739.

Oliver Heywood, in his diary, records that his son, John Heywood, preached during some weeks, on Frankland's suggestion, "at John Thornton's, nine miles from Lancaster, and John Thornback's, at Middleton Head, near Sedberg. But he had very few hearers, and those not very attentive; and all the income they could promise him was £6 a year. His father fetched him away." Heywood says in his diary, May 24, 1826: "Frank Beckett, and others of my son's hearers, came to me, told me their discouragements as to danger, and the people's falling off. I took my son from them, being very unworthy; wept and prayed among them; they were little affected; I saw his work was at an end there."*

The name of Garsdale, a village six miles east of Sedberg, occurs in Neal's list of congregations, coupled with the name of Mc Murray. He succeeded Rev. Peter Walkden, who, in 1710, left for Chipping and Newton.

The unsatisfactory ministry in the parish church led the pious people in Sedberg, about the year 1823, to unite together for prayer and reading the Scriptures. Mr. Batty, at that time a Congregational lay-preacher at Dent, was invited to preach to them. Occasional aid was also obtained from neighbouring ministers. In 1825 help was given by students from Airedale College, and in 1826 a church was formed, consisting of eighteen members.

The present chapel was erected in 1828. "The infant cause has grown up under circumstances likely to test powerfully the motives of its adherents."

The pastors have been-

  • 1840. Rev. CHRISTIAN HENRY BATEMAN. He afterwards removed to Hopton.
  • 1844. Rev. T. B. ATTENBOROUGH. He left in 1846. He is now minister at Newark.
  • 1851. Rev. G. F. TERRY. He remained till 1853. Now minister at Crockerton.
  • 1854, Rev. PIERCE JONES (New College). Left in 1858.
  • 1860. Rev. JOSEPH REDMAN, now of Nuneaton. Left in 1863.
  • 1863. Rev. E. CLARKE. He resigned in 1864.
  • 1865. Rev. T. HARTLEY, the present minister (in 1868).

* Hunter's "Heywood," p. 304.

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