Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel: History

This is pages 4 & 5 of the

Bank Top Methodist Church
Centenary Handbook

which was kindly transcribed by Elaine Hodkinson

It is hoped to complete the transcription at a later date

... by Mr. B. Wilson to hold 1000 graves, and was in use the following year. With the coming into popularity of cremation, the income from this source has gradually decreased, but we feel there are still those who would like to be laid to rest near the little Chapel on the hill top, so we cater for such people.

Our Burial Ground Steward, Mr Lewis Barker, 7, South Cliffe, is always available.

In 1936, a special effort was made and electricity was installed by Blagbrough & Hebblethwaite, Ltd. Repairs were also made to the building and decorating was completed inside and out. The honour of switching on this modern form of lighting was given to Mr. James Wilson.

Also in 1936, a new Trust was formed, the names of the new Trustees being - James Wilson, Henry Huggins, Joseph Hartley, Jonas Middleton, Willie Rawnsley, Mary J. Rawnsley, John T. Robinson, James Green, Arthur Robertshaw, Harold Barker, Lewis Barker, John I. Hartley, Irene Hartley, Walter Hardy, Edward Mayman, Amy Hartley, Ivy E. Hartley, John T. Crowther, John W. Aldam, Bertram Wilson, and Edwin A. Stevenson. This Trust is still serving, but depleted in strength.

In 1939, the Sunday School was found to be unsafe and was renewed, and only just in time, for a few months later came the second World War which tried our cause very hard indeed. Many of our young men and women served in His Majesty's Forces, and the few who remained struggled on for six years in spite of blackout conditions and shortage of staff. After the war we settled down to the task of re-building the spiritual life of our Church.

The Tragedy

In 1947, we suffered our greatest calamity, and we are indebted to Mr W. Hardy for the following account of the difficulties which came upon us.

This Handbook would be incomplete if we were to leave out the story of what has certainly been our greatest financial burden.

The wall surrounding the Cemetery attached to the Church was, previous to 1900, eighteen inches high, bordering on the road which had a steep gradient to burial ground level. The local authority found it necessary to lessen the gradient and build a fresh retaining wall, which on completion was fifteen feet high at its extreme point. After many years we became aware of danger, and on the advice of the local authority, who agreed to share the cost, we engaged a contractor to take down the wall and build a new one. But, alas, on the 30th of May, 1947, at 10:45 p.m., the wall collapsed into the roadway, bringing with it a number of graves. No other Methodist Church, or indeed no other set of people anywhere have had to face a situation such as we had. There had to be 28 re-burials, and obviously this unpleasant business had to be done during the hours of darkness. Although we could tell many a story of this weird experience, we leave it to the imagination of the reader of this book. In 1949, after the ...

See Centenary Handbook, Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel Graveyard, Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel New Graveyard, Bethesda Primitive Methodist School, Southowram, Laurence Coates, Delf Hill Chapel, Southowram and James Mann

This & associated entries use material contributed by Graeme Haigh, Elaine Hodkinson & Angela Westwood

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 17:43 / 3rd May 2024 / 6278

Page Ref: WW_12

search tips advanced search
site search by freefind