Our History

The United Reformed Church has a long history in the village. We can trace our beginnings to 1670. The Church’s first building, an old barn rented from John Didsbury, possibly on the site of the current graveyard. In 1688 it was established as The Independent Chapel. This was the only church in the village at the time.

A new building replaced the Old Barn in 1763. This was replaced by a larger building in the 1960’s owing to the lack of funds to deal with the dry rot we had found in a large area of the roof. Since that time we have used our Sunday school building for Sunday Worship and all other activities.

This building dates from 1820. The Church leaders of the day had recognised the need for educating the children. The Minister at the time, the Revd. William Hudson, had met with Robert Raikes some time in the 1780s, hence in 1788 the first Sunday school was started. The School was enlarged in 1853 to its present size.

Sometime around 1838 the school was being used daily to educate children who spent half a day at school and the other half working in the mill. The Revd W Hudson died on the 26th March 1811 and on the day of his burial the “Old Meeting House” was razed to its foundations. He is buried in the Church yard. In 1934 the brass plate was removed from the head stone and erected in the chapel. You can now see it hanging behind the pulpit.

The pulpit, the wood panelling down the left hand side of the church, the font, and the Communion table and chairs plus our records are all we have left from the “Old Days”. There was a time in the mid 19th century when 250 children attended the Sunday school! Pew rents were collected four times a year and raised enough money to fund a Minister, employ two paid teachers, a manse, caretaker(s), a library with 1500 books, and several schemes to help the poor. There was money in cotton....for some.

We now have a Memorial Garden on the site of our old Church. From here there are magnificent views across the valley.


Updated May 25 2014