WAKEFIELD: Wakefield Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The present cause at Wakefield began in 1836, but a previous effort had been made by students from Horton College, who had held services in a schoolroom, in Hardy Croft, as early as the year 1812. In 1818, Dr. Steadman baptised three converts in the river, and meetings were afterwards held in the Old Assembly Room, where a baptistry was constructed. The effort was, however, relinquished, as was a second attempt in the year 1827. In 1836, a Congregational chapel in the town was closed; on April 24th, 1836, it was reopened as a Baptist meeting-place by the Itinerant Society. Finding that a pastor was absolutely necessary for the establishment of the cause, they invited Mr. Joseph Fox, a student of Horton, who began his ministry in May, 1837. Their first baptismal service was held at Ossett, January 9th, 1838, and, their members having increased to twenty-seven, the Church was formally constituted on March 15th, 1839, and three deacons appointed. Mr. Fox remained for four and a half years, adding seventy-three members to the Church.

The necessity of a new chapel being imperative, land was secured, and the present chapel opened on March 20th, 1844, the Church then numbering ninety-nine members. The building evidently taxed the resources of the people very severely, and the swift succession of brief pastorates suggests the difficulty the Church had in supporting a settled ministry. The Church has had thirteen pastors :—Revs. J. Fox, D. Boyce, W. Howieson, W. Colcroft, A. Perrey, M.D., G. C. Catterall, H. Hardin, W. Turner, W. Satchwell, J. Ford, J. Cottam, H. J. Martin, and the present pastor, Rev. L. Banner, who commenced his ministry in 1910. The chapel is at some disadvantage from its position not being in close vicinity to the population. During Mr. Turner's pastorate the chapel was considerably improved, additional rooms built, an organ installed, and, better still, a hundred members were added to the Church. During the pastorate of Mr. Ford (1882-93) the interior of the building was modernised, and during more recent years the electric light has been installed through the generosity of one of the members.

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