Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel, Southowram

Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel – aka Bank Top Methodist Church.

In 1821, a group of people started a Mission at a house in Marsh Lane, Bank Top. Around the same time, a similar Mission was started in New Street, Southowram. A preacher took Morning and Afternoon Services in New Street, and Evening Services in Marsh Lane.

As the Marsh Lane cause grew, a piece of land – measuring 1,496 square yards – was bought from James Midgley of Highfield House, Southowram for £100. The land had previously been a quarry.

The corner stone was laid by John Crossley on Whit Monday, 1st June 1857.

The builders got to the stage of finishing the roof when the foundations were found to be unsafe; the Chapel had to be demolished and the work had to be re-started.

The cost of construction was £700, towards which John Crossley gave £50, and Frank Crossley gave £25. Other donors included Joseph Crossley, Mrs Hartley, Misses Dewhirst,

The money was raised by subscription.

Samuel Laycock was instrumental in the construction of the Chapel.

The Chapel measured 39 ft by 30 ft. There was a school room and a caretaker's house attached to the Chapel.

The first service was conducted a Wednesday evening in March 1858.

The School opened a few weeks earlier and was below the main Chapel. It accommodated around 250 worshippers. The Chapel was approached by 2 flights each of 9 steps between high walls – although there was a [fairly] level approach through a passage from Battinson Street. There was access to the graveyard via the gate in Trooper Lane.

On 24th July 1875, the memorial stone was laid for the vestries by Mr H. Denham. A bottle – containing a copy of The Halifax Courier & Guardian, a Circuit Plan, a paper entitled The Primitive Methodists, and a document with the names of all the contractors - was placed beneath the stone.

Looking from Halifax, the building was a landmark on the skyline.

In 1898, the room was damaged in a storm.

In 1919, a new organ was installed by Laycock & Bannister Limited, of Keighley, at a cost of £300. It was officially opened on 3rd May 1919 by Mrs Edgar Mallinson.

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

Organists have included

On 28th January 1930, pew rents were abolished.

In 1936, the Chapel was refurbished and electricity installed by local company Blagbrough & Hebblethwaite.

In 1936, a new Trust was formed with trustees

In 1939, the Sunday School was found to be unsafe and was refurbished.

In 1947, the retaining wall on the graveyard collapsed and a number of graves were broken and their contents exposed.

The Chapel closed in 19?? and was demolished in 1977.

In 2003, the graveyard was closed and houses were built on the site.

Subsequent Ministers at the Chapel have included


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

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 18:08 / 21st December 2022 / 8065

Page Ref: ZZ_11

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