South Parade Methodist Chapel, Halifax

The first Methodist preaching room in Halifax was opened at Cow Green in 1749.

In 1752, as numbers grew, a new chapel was opened in Church Lane. This cost £300.

This was replaced by the much larger South Parade Wesleyan Chapel – the first Methodist chapel in the town – in 1777, built at a cost of pound;1,230. Blakey Spencer provided some of the money for the church.

John Wesley laid the foundation stone. He preached at the opening and donations amounted to £500. Wesley continued to visit the chapel and his journal of 1778 records:

I spoke to them in Halifax with all plainness yet I did not hear that any was offended

In April 1779, there was a dispute over a carved angel – blowing a trumpet – which had been erected on a sounding board over the pulpit. Some of the congregation liked the angel, others did not, but at a meeting of church leaders, it was decided by one vote to destroy the wooden angel, and a Mr Murlin promptly removed it, smashed it to pieces and burned it in the churchyard, thereby creating a permanent division amongst the chapelgoers, some leaving the church altogether, never again to worship anywhere.

In 1786, there was a fire which threatened to destroy the building. Joseph Bramley valiantly grabbed a leather fire hose and entered the chapel, standing in the pulpit, spraying water pumped from a nearby flooded quarry. The building was saved, although one gallery collapsed and the windows were all put out.

In 1797, a group left South Parade and went to worship in rooms over cottages in Ann Street, Northgate. The dispute arose over the rights and responsibilities of the lay members as compared to the clergy, and the dissidents were following the ideas of Rev Alexander Kilham. The minister Rev William Thom joined the breakaway group.

In 1812, the chapel was extended.

There was a large burial ground attached.

In 1844, considerable additions were made to the external appearance.

On 25th August 1872, the Chapel was reopened after extensive alterations and improvements which had cost over £2,300.

Details of the organ in the Chapel can be found in the National Pipe Organ Register.

In the 1870s, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway demanded the compulsory purchase of the graveyard to enable expansion of the adjacent goods yard. The Trustees of the chapel took the case to the House of Lords, but this resulted in the rail company being forced to buy the entire site, which it did in 1878.

The chapel closed in 1880. In 1883, graves were moved from the site to Stoney Royd Cemetery.

The South Parade Methodists found themselves a home in the large and newly built St John's Methodist Chapel, Prescott Street.

The railway company rented out the old building for a variety of purposes until 1966 when it was demolished so that the road could be widened.

Ministers at the Chapel have included


See David Barraclough, Bintliff Mite Box, John Crossley, John Greenwood and South Parade Methodist Chapel, Halifax: Graveyard

This & associated entries use material contributed by John Hoyle

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 16:28 / 8th April 2024 / 6146

Page Ref: KK_20

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