Histories

Discover how our churches have changed over time and how our congregations lived throughout history. 

The history of Newchurch Methodist

Written and researched by Joe Teasdale.  

Newchurch Methodist - The New Chapel 1761

 

In 1761, the Society at Miller Barn had increased in numbers so much that the accommodation at Miller Barn became too small, so they decided to build themselves a Chapel.

 

A plot of land at Millend belonging to Mr. Henry Hargreaves (dyer) was secured, and the Deed of Trust for this was drawn up on 11th March, 176 a1, the trustees agreeing to pay yearly rent of 8 shillings and 4 pence (about 42 new pence). The Chapel was erected on a piece of land on which now stands the dwelling houses numbers 115 & 117 Burnley Road East, and tradition says that it was first built one storey high, but with the increasing congregation, a second storey was soon added.

The name Millend had been given to this district, because it was closely adjoining the corn mill which had been operating there for over 100 years, having been constructed soon after the deforestation of the Valley. Burnley Road East was not constructed until 1820. This probably accounts for the way this row of houses is at an angle to the present road, hut has the Burnley Road East postal address.

 

 “The rain in the evening obliged us to preach in the house, near a village called Newchurch. As many as could crowded in, many more stood at the door, but many more were constrained to go away”

It is not known on what date this Chapel was opened or who conducted the services, but we know that John Wesley preached here on 30th August, 1766. In his journal he states “The rain in the evening obliged us to preach in the house, near a village called Newchurch. As many as could crowded in, many more stood at the door, but many more were constrained to go away”. This Chapel was included in the Colne Circuit, and visits by itinerant ministers to Millend must have been few and far between (see list opposite). This Chapel was extended in 1791.

 

In the Newchurch Circuit Book, under the date of January 2nd, 1 786, we have the following entry by Charles Atmore, who, while zealous in promoting the salvation of souls, was equally attentive to the minor points relating to the orderly management of a circuit. He states “This book is for the Steward’s accounts of the Millend Chapel;” and again, “I appoint Dionysius Haworth Steward of the Society for the ensuing year". At this date there were two Society Classes, at Newchurch and at Millend.

 

From the Newchurch society books between:

Horse bill - £1 l0s;

Candles- 3s;Horse for local preachers - 2s 8d;For preachers room- 16s;given to a local preacher for a coat - 5s;Given to the poor- 4s 4d;to mending chapel windows - 5s;Flocks for bed – 10s 10d;rope for horse - 1s 2d;Repairs for chapel – 7s 3d;Townley’ s horse breaking a window - 1s 6d; wine for sacrament - 1s 10d.

 

Then as of now, finance was sometimes a problem. The quarterly collection included such items as class money, ticket money, chapel seat rents, the rent of the house under the Millend Chapel, and the proceeds of the Love Feast.

 

Love Feasts are not now common practice in this area. They usually open with singing and prayer, a blessing is given, after which the bread & water (or fruit-cake & water) are served. The people then give their testimony, and the Love Feast closes with prayer.

 

John Wesley originally was a C of E vicar, and he believed that only Ordained Ministers should lead the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, hut the celebration of the Love Feast, led by Church Members, was positively encouraged.

 

 

Newchurch Methodist - The New Chapel 1806

 

A new Trust was formed and a Chapel built with a seating capacity for 450 persons.

The trustees who signed the deeds were:

Wm. Sutcliffe

Hugh Taylor

James Dawson

James Wardleworth

James Wild

Sam Whittaker

John Ashworth

James Law

John Whitehead

John Heap

James Livesey

James Nuttall

Sam Haworth

Henry Cunliffe

 

“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of Hosts and in this place I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

 

The Chapel was opened on Whit Sunday, 1806, by the Rev. John Gaulter, who took for his text (Haggai ii -9). “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of Hosts and in this place I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The Collection that day came to £15.00 and even though the chapel could seat 450 persons, it was not sufficient; for the Preacher had to stand on a gravestone in the Chapel yard, whilst a member held an umbrella over his head - to save him from the hot sun. In this building both preaching services and Sunday School were held, and both continued to prosper.

 

Prominent in the society at the time were: William Sagar of Southfield; William Sutcliffe of Heptonstall; Judith Tattersall, Jenny Ashworth, Peggy Haworth; Hugh Taylor and John Whitehead of Yate, near Shawclough Road, and George Hargreaves, who lived at Kiln Farm, near Bacup, and who answered to the name of “George o’Bill’s o’th’Kiln.”

 

 A modern day estate agent would have described this area as a “Prime Site”. In 1805, it was on the main road out of Newchurch going towards Burnley, via Bridleway and Shawclough Road. Towards Bacup (and Yorkshire), via Turnpike and Booth Road, and through Cowpe to Rochdale, via Booth Road and Miller Barn Lane.

 

Across Bridleway was the principal seat of learning for the whole district, (this building was the forerunner of the Grammar School). The modern main roads from Rawtenstall to Bacup, and Waterfoot to Burnley, were not constructed until 1826. The railway to Waterfoot was opened in 1848 and thence to Bacup in 1852.

 

Newchurch was the centre of the commercial life of Rossendale, as through its narrow streets long trains of packhorses were often to be seen, making their way from the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire to Blackburn and towns beyond, and vice-versa. It was a good centre for the accommodation of both man and beast. Hand loom weaving of wool was carried out in the top rooms of many of the houses. The woollen materials were stored in two warehouses (on Dark Lane), ready for onward delivery. People came from far and near to do their shopping, for in the village were the largest shops for miles around, also a fair was held annually, to which were brought many of the articles necessary for the comfort of a home.

In 1806, Rossendale Methodism was included in the Rochdale Circuit, and the Circuit Minister was Rev. Joseph Cooke. Mr. Cooke’s teaching was regarded as unorthodox, and he was expelled from the Wesleyan ministry, but this expulsion also meant that 30 members left this Church with him, and began to hold services in a cottage at Millend, calling themselves Methodist Unitarians. Thus began the Unitarian denomination in this district.

 

In order to increase efficiency, Rossendale was formed into a having Bacup as its head. (See lists for 1813 & 1817). In 1812 there were 391 members in the Circuit:

178 were at Bacup 98 at Newchurch 54 at Rawtenstall 33 at Rakefoot and 19 at Shawforth.

 

BETHESDA

About the year 1822, there was a dispute amongst the members as to whether it was now right to teach handwriting in the Sunday School on a Sunday. After much discussion, it was eventually forbidden. Consequently, those who wished to continue the practice took a room over the house of Dr. Law in Old Street, next door to Kirk Church. These people were to form the nucleus of the local United Methodist body. In 1828 they removed to the top floor room in Higher Limes on Turnpike, entering through a doorway which is now walled up, but which can still be seen from the present Chapel gates. Walking up to there, via the outside stairway, would certainly give you a head for heights. They stayed there for 8 years before moving to the site of the present Catholic Church, where they built Mount Tabor Chapel, and there they stayed until 1878, when they moved to Bridge Street, to Bethesda Chapel.

During the 80 years from 1795, the development and extension of the Society at Newchurch, helped to encourage the building of the following Churches in the Rawtenstall District:

 

WESLEYAN

Longholme, Rawtenstall (1795)

Rakefoot, Crawshawbooth (1811)

Whitewell Bottom (1840)

Cloughfold (1868)

Haslingden Road Chapel was a split from Longholme (1857)

 

UNITED METHODISTS from Mount Tabor

Lord Street, Rawtenstall (1851)

Salem (1882)

Springside ~Developed from a Temperance Mission (1882)

 

Also the PRIMITIVE METHODISTS built the following Churches

Lord Street, Crawshawbooth (1839)

Jubilee ( Lord Street) Rawtenstall (1860)

Townsendfold, Rawtenstall (1860)

Hareholme Waterfoot (1873)

The UNITED METHODISTS also built

Providence Church, Loveclough (1846)

Eden, Water (1860)

 

About the year 1823, a new school was erected behind the chapel. It was three storeys high, the higher room being open at one end on the chapel side, and used by the scholars during service. However it had not been built on firm foundations, and was partially pulled down and rebuilt in a more substantial manner.

 

In 1864 a gas lamp was erected near to the front gate.

In 1866, Joseph Whitehead was appointed to play the harmonium in the Chapel.

A full church organ was installed in 1872, and the harmonium was finally sold in 1902. Before this time, the choir had always had the help of individual musicians, playing string and wind instruments,. In the centenary celebrations in 1902, one of the older members who was thanking the choir and the organist for their performance on that day, then gave special thanks to all the musicians who had played for the services in his younger days, including a Richard Pickup who played a bassoon.

 

When travelling Preachers came to the Valley, well-to-do members of the congregation provided accommodation for them. Mr. Sugden Senior was one of these, and when a member of John Wesley’s team came on a visit, and preached an inspirational sermon, both Mr. & Mrs. Sugden agreed that if the child which they were expecting was a boy, they would name it after the preacher. Unfortunately they couldn’t remember his name, so the boy was christened - Missionary - and became Mr. Ebenezer Missionary Sugden.

 

The Society and School continued to make progress till the year 1867, when it was decided to modernise the whole of the property. The school was the first to be demolished, and on April 20th Mr. E. M. Sugden laid the corner stone of the new one, which was built behind the old chapel, costing a little over Li 000.0.0.

 

The last service was held in the old chapel in 1871, and, on the following day, workmen started to demolish the building, and, partly using the old foundations, the new chapel was erected.

 

This new building used “patent hydro-carbon gas lights” for illumination. In 1950, when dry rot finally claimed this building, a glass jar was recovered from under a corner stone. Rev. Robert Teasdale provided the list of its contents (see next page).

The drains in the chapel yard have been a constant problem over the years, (even in this last few years) as quite a lot of surface water collects in and around the graveyard.

In 1872 a proposal was made, that ALE CARTS should be stopped from coming up the Chapel Yard!!! It would seem that the builders were a thirsty lot. In the May of that year, pew rents were advertised, and the New Chapel opened in July.

In 1878 Samuel Whitehead was appointed Chapel Organist, and in 1880 the Chapel sermons were moved from February to October.

Our Trustees in 1898, were a well travelled lot: Mr. J. J. Ashcroft lived in Southport, Mr. C. W. Trickett lived in Lytham, Mr. P H. Haworth, and Mr. J. E. Martin lived in Leeds, Mr. R. Pickup lived in Salford, and Mr. S. West lived in Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

In both 1900 and 1915 the Trustees asked the Sunday School Teachers to use their influence over the scholars to stop them using the Chapel Yard as a playground. Things don’t change!

 

In 1902 a ‘Grand Reunion Service’ was held on Good Friday, to celebrate the CENTENARY of the Sunday School. The Rossendale Express, of Wednesday, April 2nd 1902 devoted a full page to the reporting of the various meetings held on that day. Between 800 and 1000 people attended, so all the catering was arranged to be done at either the Unitarian school or in the Grammar school.

 

Mr. Jephthah Priestley gave a historical sketch and report. His original notebook is available, but it is written in his own style of copperplate handwriting, and I am thankful for the newspaper reports of that day, to help me read it.

 

In 1906, Hawthorn House was purchased for use as a Manse, but it stayed empty until 1913, when the Rev. J. H. Verney was appointed as Minister. In this year, an electric light was installed over the organ keyboard, but the rest of the building had to wait until 1920 for the old gas lights to be removed, and electric lighting installed.

History of Newchurch Methodist Church from 1744 to 2001

 

 The history of the Newchurch Wesleyan Methodist Society is very much connected to the beginnings of Methodism in the Rossendale Valley.

 

 

Photo for illustrative purposes and not related to Newchurch Methodist.

 

In 1744 a friend persuaded young John Maden to go to hear one of the “New Sort of Preachers” (the term “Methodist” had not yet been applied), preach in a barn at Gauksholme near Todmorden. The preacher, William Darney, made such a deep and lasting impression On the mind of Mr. Maden that the latter joined a small group of people in Todmorden, who were followers of John Wesley. Although his home was five or six miles away from the meeting place, he was never absent from any of the meetings. He was anxious to form a Society in Rossendale, and with this in mind he invited Mr. Darney to come and preach in the district.

 

That first meeting was at HEAP BARN, situated near to the old SHARNEYFORD Church, on Todmorden Road. Mr. Maden who lived at Miller Barn Fold, near Boothfold, Waterfoot, opened his house for the occasional visit of Preachers. William Darney, came to live at Miller Barn, and so was formed the first ‘Society Class’ in Rossendale, John Maden was appointed leader.

 

The hamlet of Miller Barn, in 1744, consisted of 4 or 5 houses just below where Woodlea Mission now stands:  Boothfold consisted of 6 or 7 houses and was the area on Booth Road just below the Jolly Sailor Pub. Newchurch, which was the chief place in the valley, (from Haslingden to Bacup), must have had about 20 dwellings, all clustered round the Church. Bacup consisted of a few straggling houses, and Rawtenstall was then almost unknown.

For several years after the introduction of Methodism into the valley, William Darney made his home in Miller Barn, where he carried on the business of clogger, returning from his preaching rounds to his trade, to eke out his livelihood.

 

"I observed there what I had not then seen but at one single place in England."

 

John Wesley’s first recorded visit to the Valley was in 1747. In his journal he writes, “At his earnest request, I began examining those that are called William Darney Societies”. On Thursday 7th March, 1747, Wesley records “We left the mountains and came down to the fruitful valley of Rossendale. Here I preached to a large congregation of wild men; but it pleased God to hold them in chains, so that even when I had done, none offered any rudeness but all went quietly away”.

 

On Saturday 27th August, 1748, he wrote, “At five, I preached at Miller Barn in Rossendale. There were a few rude people but they kept at a distance and it was just as well they did, or the awakened hearers would have been apt to handle them roughly, I observed there what I had not then seen but at one single place in England. When I had finished my discourse and even pronounced the blessing, not one present offered to go away, but every man, woman and child stayed just where they were, till I myself went first”. Charles Wesley also preached here, and Whitefield came in 1749 and 1750, preaching to crowds of people in the open air.

Newchurch Methodist - Wartime 1915 to 1937

 

In September 1915, the Trustees passed a resolution requesting the married men of the school and congregation, the married women, the bachelors and the maidens to arrange a series of four social entertainments during the forthcoming winter.

 

The war had been going on for about a year, when the following minute was passed: ‘After discussion as to the damage to our property by hostile aircraft, it was decided that:

1. We insure the Church Premises against damage for £5000.

2. We insure the houses at Higher Limes belonging to the trust for £500’.

 

About this time a list of members who were on ‘Active Service’ was published

The old school room had class rooms on the ground floor, and a balcony upstairs. This balcony has been filled in to make the large hall which we now possess.

 

 

 

Photo for illustrative purposes and not related to Newchurch Methodist.

 

Each year, the property committee inspected the building and gave its report to the Trustees, and each year, the treasurer and the property secretary walked round the boundary wall to see if it was needing any repairs. In both 1917 and 1924, Bridleway was referred to as a CART ROAD in the minutes.

 

In 1921, a special service was held, for the unveiling of the memorial tablet to all the members who had died on active service during the war.

 

About this time the ‘Newchurch Wesleyan Sports Club’ was formed, with special membership cards covering all the activities. They had a large playing field situated behind Edgeside Baptist Church. As a child I can remember being taken to a ‘sports day’ up there. This field was finally sold in 1934.

 

In 1925 the trustees purchased extra land from Ashlands, so that a rectangular building could be constructed alongside the school room. The tablet commemorating the erection of this new building is at present on the wall in the entrance hall.

 

In 1927, an advert was placed, for rebuilding the graveyard wall, along the bottom part of Higher Limes, and in 1930 the wall alongside Bridleway was repaired.. In March 1928, there was a serious fire in the School. Services were transferred to Bethesda for a few weeks.

 

Up until 1932, we had always been known as “The Wesleyan Church, Newchurch”, with the advent of Methodist Union, the title was changed to “The Methodist Church, Newchurch.”

 

A notice was placed in the classroom USED for smoking, to this effect: ‘Smoking is not allowed in this room on a Sunday’ - as a primary scholar I used to go in for my Dad, and can say quite definitely — it didn’t last long!

 

In both 1935 and 1937, the Trustees reported big worries on the financial side.

Newchurch Methodist - Second World War 1940

 

In January, 1940, dry rot was found in the School floor, and was quickly dealt with. In July, 1941 it was agreed that we purchase an extra 10 tons of coal, ready for the winter, and store it outside.

 

In July, 1944, a letter was received from the Home Guard, regarding the ‘Invasion Arrangements’. Later that year, a letter was sent to the local Fuel Controller, complaining that the coke for the boiler was in very short supply.

 

The only casualty in the 1939/45 war was Albert Mobbs. The Trustees decided to add his name to the bottom of the previous war’s casualty list.

 

Photo for illustrative purposes and not related to Newchurch Methodist.

 

In 1948 the tenants of Higher Limes were asked if they wished to purchase their property. In 1951 an independent valuer was brought in, and the property was finally sold in 1952.

 

In the summer of 1949, a firm of architects was asked to inspect the Chapel.

The resulting report was placed before a General Church Meeting for them to decide whether to renovate the Chapel at a cost of £3000, or to demolish it, and transfer the Services into the School premises.

 

A month afterwards, a resolution was passed stating:

We resolve to proceed with the immediate demolition of the Chapel, and that the School be altered for the put-poses of WorshipThat the Architect be asked to take steps to prevent the spread of Dry Rot from the Chapel to the School.

 

In May 1950, the Church Organ was sold to a Baptist Church in Liverpool, for £450.

Newchurch Methodist - Heating the Church

 

In 1951 a proposal was made that we change the method of heating, from coke to gas. Instead in April 1961, we changed from coke to fuel oil.

 

It was in October, 1993, when the Chapel was being planned to move downstairs, that the heating fuel was finally converted to gas.

 

Photo for illustrative purposes and not related to Newchurch Methodist.

 

The Chapel was re-opened in the upstairs part of the School building, in April 1953, with most of the work being done by the men of the Church.

 

The Manse at Hawthorn House was proving expensive to maintain, and the Circuit was asked to give financial assistance for this in 1957, but by 1973, responsibility for this property was transferred fully to the Circuit. Pew rents were discontinued in 1957, and a year later, it was decided that no more graves would be put up for sale, but that burials could still continue for the present.

 

In July 1959, our Trustees sent a formal letter to the Trustees of Bethesda Chapel, inviting them to join the Trust at Newchurch. The two Churches decided to amalgamate, and Messrs. L. C. Greig, J. H. Hoyle and K. Brennand joined the Trust.

 

The Rev. Stafford Mortimer joined the Church in 1962, and he talked about a ‘Stewardship Campaign’ which had been held at his previous Church and which had proved to be a success. This idea was put into action at Newchurch, and proved to be successful both financially and socially.

 

On two Sunday Evenings in 1991, after the evening service, a “Moody & Sankey Songs of Praise” evening was held. These were attended by many Rossendale churchgoers, quite a few of whom were non-Methodist. Norman Greenwood played the piano, and Shirley Suthers led the singing.

 

From the old to the new - we are now in the computer age, the Trust schedule requires information about ‘Data Protection’.

 

After two break-ins in 1992, it was decided to fix security bars to all the windows on the Ashlands side of the building.

 

During the following year, the men of the church, under the guidance of Brian Hollinrake, replaced all the old flooring in the big hall upstairs.

Newchurch Methodist - Chapel Downstairs 1990's

 

After many years of discussion, the scheme to move the Chapel downstairs was approved, after being fully costed by Mr. Andrew Brown, who then was appointed to be the Architect in charge. The figure quoted was £50,000.00. Work to commence in October 1994.

 

The floor was to be composed of ash blocks on top of the original concrete. The chairs to be covered by a red fire-resistant material, and have metal frames. The first three windows to have stained glass in them. The designs which Andrew Brown submitted for these windows were heartily approved.

 

The dedication service for the New Chapel was held on Saturday, January 14th, 1995, and was opened by the District Chairman, the Rev. David Reddish.

 

The preacher was Rev. Tony Brazier, who had first proposed the project.

 

The old chapel furniture was successfully dismantled and sold, with only a little damage to the floor, which the men of the church quickly repaired, in readiness for the room becoming the ‘Youth Group Room’. The young people then decorated the room, and in 1996 a new hard wearing carpet was laid to complete the scheme.

 

During the following year, the church path was re-laid from the gate to the main door, with a ramp included for disabled access.

 

The Scouts ( Hopkins’ Own Group), celebrated 75 years of activity on November 9th

In 1998 it was suggested that we install a pay-phone in the lounge, but the treasurer was very concerned regarding finance as a whole, so it was not approved. Over the last year, our expenditure was £1,000.00 more than our income.

 

In 1999 Geoff Colbert retired after celebrating 50 years as the Newchurch Secretary for the National Children’s Home.

 

New Methodist regulations require the Church to install a loop system to assist the hard of hearing. Financial assistance is available from the authorities.

 

Year 2000 - Finance again! If each individual’s giving was covenanted, then the Church could claim tax relief from the authorities, This was discussed at length, and it was decided to ‘advertise’ this in the newsletter.

 

Also in this year, Church stalwarts Pat & Chris Payne, moved to Norfolk. Best wishes and thanks for all they have done for this Church were expressed by all.

  

Newchurch Methodist - The Ladies Aid 1919 to 2000 

 

Although the Ladies Aid was inaugurated on November 6th 1919, no records seem to have been kept until September 1922.

 

Below is a copy of the minutes of the first General Meeting held September 10th.

Mrs. Brocklehurst in the chair. Resolved:That the following Ladies be elected officers and committee for the session 1922 - 1923.PresidentMrs. A. C. Hopkins.Vice Presidents:Mrs. J. Ashworth Mrs. J. E. Lord Mrs. J. T. Hurst

Mrs. Brocklehurst

Treasurer: Mrs. Ernest Taylor

Secretary: Mrs. R. H. Waddington

Roll Secretary: Mrs. E. L. Pidsley

Picnic Secretary: Mrs. T. W Whittaker

Committee: Mrs. S. Whitehead, Mrs. T. Hill, Mrs. Jas. Lord, Mrs. M. Whitehead, Mrs. Fred Brooks, Mrs. Fred Lord, Mrs. J. Birtwhistle, Mrs. A. Hirst, Mrs. F Whitehead and Mrs. L. Stephenson.

Tea provided by Mrs. Whittaker, Mrs. Grimshaw and Mrs. Halliwell. Collection £1. 19s. 0d.

 

Meetings were held fortnightly on Tuesday afternoons commencing at 3 pm., and tea was provided by two or three of the members in turn. This must have been a fairly substantial meal, as in November 1931 it was decided make the tea much plainer, and do without cakes. The first recorded Opening Social was held on October 17th, 1922, and the gentlemen were specially invited to this.

 

The young ladies of the Sunday School were also invited to other socials later. The number of members for the 1922/23 session was 89.

 

The first Ladies Aid Sunday was on 18th February, 1923, when the collection was £21 15s Od. In 1925 it was decided to alter their special Sunday to the first Sunday in December, which is when it is held now. Over the years, the Ladies Aid has contributed a considerable sum of money to the running of this Church, and, since Stewardship was introduced, outside charities have also benefited.

 

Photo for illustrative purposes and not related to Newchurch Methodist.

 

PRESIDENTS

1919 - 1922 Mrs. W. J. Manistre

1922 - 1924 Mrs. A. G. Hopkins

1924 - 1927 Mrs. G. Brown

1927 - 1930 Mrs. R. A. Rees

1930 - 1933 Mrs. J. W. Haswell

1933 - 1936 Mrs. E. Sutton

1936 - 1939 Mrs. D. Dugard

1939 - 1943 Mrs. J. R. Bailey

1943 - 1946 Rev. H. Greaves

1946 - 1950 Mrs. F. Collier

1950 - 1954 Mrs. C. F Hesling

1954 - 1957 Mrs. W. H. Hopkins

1957 - 1962 Mrs. P. Hutchinson

1962 - 1966 Mrs. S. Mortimer

1966 - 1968

1968 - 1971 Mrs. R. M. Smith

1971 - 1975 Mrs. J. H. South

1975 - 1979 Mrs. A. B. Bailey

1979 - 1986 Mrs. A. Brazier

1986 - 1991 Rev.A Staton

1991 - 1996 Rev.A Brown

 

SECRETARIES

1922 - 1926 Mrs. R. H. Waddington

1926 - 1932 Mrs. F Brooks

1932 - 1935 Mrs. C. Shipley

1935 - 1939 Mrs. F Scarr

1939 - 1979 Mrs. H. Walsh

1979 - 1995 Mrs. N. Whitbread

1995 - 2000 Mrs. J Altham

 

In 1925 the men of the Church gave a concert at which the following words were sung (to the tune Excelsior). Composed by E. Lewis Pidsley and Edmund Stansfield.

 

The Autumn day was fading fast As through the Chapel yard did pass A Lady who had thought and schemed To form a class that others dreamed A Ladies Aid, A Ladies Aid.

 

Before the afternoon was o’er There came along another score Each on the self same business bent Her brain to cudgel and invent A Ladies Aid, A Ladies Aid.

 

They settled down - the minutes passed, The leader said, we’ll not be fast Let’s choose a strong and able hand Of willing ladies to commend The Ladies Aid, A Ladies Aid.

 

The form of meeting they decide And Mrs. Hopkins must preside Then Mrs. Pidsley reads the list To see if anyone has missed The Ladies Aid, The Ladies Aid.

 

Then Mrs. Brooks the minutes reads The music our Selina leads Then Mrs. Rushton reads a verse To nobler thoughts she tries to nurse The Ladies Aid, The Ladies Aid.

 

‘When summer comes and winter’s o’er The go in charas o’er the moor Leaving their husbands all alone In doleful silence - to bemoan The Ladies Aid, The Ladies Aid.

 

We’re short of brass, the Trustees said Disaster hovers o’er our head But Ethel Lord spoke up, amain If we give now, they’ll ask again The Ladies Aid. The Ladies Aid.

 

The night is clark, the tempest roars Miss Woosey speaks to Mrs. Shores Lets give them thirty pounds or more Perhaps that will teach them to adore The Ladies Aid, The Ladies Aid.

 

So here’s a greeting warm and free Life, health and joy - prosperity Let every man who’s gathered here United rise to praise and cheer The Ladies Aid, The Ladies Aid.

 

 

Singing has always been an important part of the Ladies Aid meetings, and in 1977, Mrs. Mary Hoyle (Edmund Stansfield’s daughter) wrote this to the tune of ‘She’s a lassie from Lancashire’.

 

We are lassies in Lancashire, We belong to the Ladies Aid, Newchurch Methodist Ladies Aid, join us please do. We meet every alternate week, we have talks on all subjects, After the last hymn we all get together and have our biscuits and tea.

 

Mrs. Walsh is our secretary, Mary Hoyle our treasurer. Annie lngham brews tip for us, the committee wash up. Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Teasdale Mrs. Rothwell and Lily Halstead Take it in turns to preside over the meetings of Newchurch Ladies Aid

 

If you happen to feel unwell the sick visitors on you call. At each meeting we contribute to the penny plate. Kathleen Halstead’s in charge of this, She will see that you get some flowers, Maybe some biscuits, or even fruit from the Newchurch Ladies Aid.

 

So dear ladies it’s up to you, if you wish to join us please do. Half past seven we meet downstairs every other Tuesday. Mrs. Stott is our oldest member, She was 88 in September. So you see you are never too old to join the Ladies Aid.

 

Both these songs give you some idea of the work, and the people responsible at the time.

Nowadays, there was a Ladies Sewing Group, who have created various banners which hang in the chapel at appropriate times of the year.

Newchurch Methodist - National Children's Home Edgeworth

 

In 1869, the Methodists began to take a more systematic interest in providing for homeless orphan children; and Rev. T. B. Stephenson, B.A., undertook the direction of the work with a zeal and ability which ensured success. It was in 1874 that Dr. Stephenson paid his first visit to Newchurch and took part in a service of song, in connection with a special Trust Service.

 

During his visit, he spoke of the new social work which he and a few friends had undertaken. His whole heart was full of the project, and he undoubtedly impressed some of the Sunday School Workers of that period with his earnestness and enthusiasm. Each year since 1875, this Church has held a special service, where an official from the Home comes to give a talk, and from which the collection goes directly to the National Children’s Home.

 

In 1882, two of the teachers, Mr. W H. Coupe and Mr. J. E. Lord took their class of boys to Edgworth, near Bolton, to visit the branch of the N.C.H. which had been started there 10 years earlier; this being the first of many visits by our Church to the Home, and, in return, the children used to visit us and give a concert.

 

 

The Children’s Home Secretaries connected to our Church since 1875 have been:

Mr. John Riley Mr. J. Rowland Hill Mr. Cecil Birtwhistle Mr. Maurice Whitehead Mr. Rowland Colbert Mr. Arnold Lord Mr. Geoffrey Colbert

 

 

Acknowledgements

Extracts taken from

Newbigging’s 'History of the Forest of Rossendale'.

Jessop’s 'Methodism in Rossendale'

 

My grateful thanks to the following people who have given willingly of their knowledge and time to help me to compose this history.

Ken Bowden,The staff at Preston Records Office,Alice Riley, Rawtenstall Reference Library, Alison Fell, Robert Teasdale, Maureen Sutcliffe, Jack Sunderland, Delia Heap, Keith Brenn and Fred Rothwell, John B Taylor, Margaret Everett (Hill) - for use of a few of her Father’s photographs and to my wife Jean for her patience.

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