Newchurch Methodist Church

Newchurch Methodist Church 1951 to present day

Newchurch Methodist church had its beginnings at the very start of the Methodist movement (though at the time it was not yet called Methodism). In 1744 John Maden, who lived in the hamlet of Miller Barn near Waterfoot, was persuaded by a friend to go to Gauksholme near Todmorden to hear one of the "New Sort of Preachers".

That preacher was William Darney, who made such an impression on John Maden that he joined a group of people in Todmorden who were followers of John Wesley. This evenually lead to John Maden using his house for visiting Preachers with William Darney coming to live at Miller Barn which resulted in the forming of the first "Society" in Rossendale. Over the next few years there were several visits by John Wesley and with the number of members increasing so much the the house soon became to small.

By 1761 the house at Miller Barn had become so overcrowded that it was decieded to build a proper Chapel on land that had been acquired at nearby Mill End, with the Deed of Trust for the land being signed on 11th March 1761. This was a single storey building but with the congregation soon outgrowing the building more accomodation was needed and so a gallery was added. The Chapel was extended again in 1791.

Shortly after the gallery was added John Wesley himself preached there and recorded in his diary, "30th August 1766: I rode to Rossendale, which, notwithstanding its name is nothing else than a chain of mountains. The rain in the evening obliged us to preach in the new house near a village called Newchurch".

There was a falling out of members when 1822 it was decieded to stop teaching reading and writing in the Sunday School on a Sunday. Those who wished to carry on with the practice split away and took a room over the house of Dr Law in Old Street before moving to Higher Limes in Turnpike. They stayed at Higher Limes for eight years before moving to the site where St Peter's R.C. church now stands. Here they built Mount Tabor Chapel in 1836 and stayed until 1878 when they built Bethesda Chapel on Bridge Street.

The chapel at Mill End was in use until 1806 when it was sold and a new chapel and school was built on its present site at the junction of Turnpike and Bridleway and a cost of over £1,000 whith seating for 450 persons. The School was pulled down in 1867 and the same year a new School was built, with the cornerstone being laid on the 20th of April by Mr. E. M. Sugden of Wesley Villas Rawtenstall, a trustee of Longholme Methodist Chapel, Rawtenstall.

The Turnpike chapel lasted until 1871, with the last service being in June of that year. It was demolished almost immediately after the service and the new chapel was built using much of the old material on the same land. The cornerstones for the chapel were laid by Mr. Peter H. Whitehead of Rawtenstall and Mr. James Smith Sutcliffe of Bacup. The church was opened 18th July 1872 at a cost of £2,200.

After the Second World War the building was showing signs of severe deterioration and plans were put in place to partialy demolish the main chapel and convert the upper floor of the Sunday School into a place of worship, seating approximately one hundred people. The demolition work commenced in October 1951 and reused the old stone to built a new gable end on the shortened old chapel.

In the late 1980s early 90s major modernisation work was undertaken, amongst which was the Chapel being moved downstairs. Work commenced in October 1994 and the dedication service for the New Chapel was held on Saturday 14th January 1995.

For an indepth history of Newchurch Methodist Church from 1744 to 2001 vist:-