The records of the early history of the Barnsley Church are few. An old Dissenting Meeting-house near Church Street was endowed by land at Beeston. The first minister mentioned is Rev. SAMUEL ROBERTS, whose death (1708) is recorded in the Northowram register, which characterizes him as "a brisk, active young man, had preached about six or seven years." Other ministers were
WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE and SAMUEL MIDGELEY, "a plain, pious man," who died here.*1 "The chapel," we are then told, "went to decay, and was taken possession of by a John Deakin, who converted the same into three dwelling-houses, called Chapel-hill' to this day " (1833). "The land, by some means, fell into the hands of Mr. Mills, of Wakefield."
The next chapel was begun in 1777, and was finished in 1778, chiefly through the liberality of the Messrs. Walker, of Rotherham. It had a large burial-ground. The successive ministers have been-
During the year 1866, at the instance of several members of Regent Street Congregation, a new trust-deed was prepared, and new trustees appointed :-Dr. G. W. Smith, Messrs. S. Simpson, J. W. Wilson, Henry Rhodes, John Smorfitt, Edwin Byggate, and J. J. Huntley. The recent deed is in entire accordance with the preceding one, which prescribes the Westminster Confession as a standard of doctrine. It was designed, after repairing the building, to form a church and congregation, and to incorporate in it the small remains of the original body. The person, however, who resided in the house, and had been put in possession of the property by the previous trustees, and who had latterly officiated as minister, refused to admit the new trustees even to view the premises, though possession had not been demanded. Many fruitless attempts having been made in the way of amicable adjustment, a formal notice was served on the part of the trustees. At length an order of the Vice-Chancellor was obtained, and the resisting occupier was ejected. (1868) It is intended to use the building for Evangelistic purposes.
- 1777. Rev. WILLIAM ENTWISLE. He remained here in honour and usefulness for ten years. Died at Barnsley, 1787.
- 1787. Rev. ROBERT ELLIS. Died in 1832, after a ministry of 45 years. For many years before his death the congregation was in a very declining state. The chapel was diminished by the appropriation of part of it as a minister's house. After Mr. Ellis's death there was no regular pastor, except for a few months, when the pulpit was occupied by the Rev. T. Tully Crybbace. Very few remained of the original congregation.
* Aided by Messrs. Shaw and Wilson.
*1 Scales MSS.-Mr. Scales mentions a tradition he had received from Mrs. Briggs, that some tradesmen of Barnsley had once, in a drunken frolic, brought the pulpit out of the chapel, and put it in the public stocks.