Methodists & Methodism Washburn Valley – Castley to Norwood Bottom

By Stanley Merridew

The lower part of the valley was part of the Otley Circuit whose records are housed at Leeds Archives.


Isaac Atkinson is credited with starting Methodism in Castley around 1820, although a record of a chapel can only be gleaned from the name Chapel Hill Lane.  He was a tenant of Castley Hall farm and Castley Manor Farm.   I understand Chapel Hill Lane was diverted when the railway came, so possibly the chapel was pulled down at the time.  In 1851 the chapel census was signed by John Adamson.

From the Wesleyan Roll we can deduce the society was very active at this time judging by the number of names shown comprising the Dickinson, Hannam, Hutton, Mundell, Newby, Parker, Pickard & Rodgers families.


The village appears in the Keighley circuit records as early as 1760.  However, it is not until 1776 that the house of Joseph Mawson was licensed for preaching.  The applicants were Lee, Harrison, Brown, White and Rayner.    Later in 1799 the home of Robert Walker was licensed.  On this occasion the applicants were Potts, Brown, Stead, Richie and Armistead.  The chapel was erected in 1826.  The land was bought from John Stead and the cost was met by loans over many years from J Taylor of Weeton, W Clapham, T Renton and William Rodgers

At the time of the religious census in 1851 the steward was Joseph Kendall.   The following signed the Wesleyan Roll: Job Gill, Grace A Morrell, Joseph Kendall, Robert Kendall and several members of the Fearnside family who are shown as “of York, lately of Leathley.


The village is mentioned in the circuit records as early as 1785 although the chapel was not built until 1836, Licensed in the name of John Gill.  He appears in the Wesleyan Roll as “In memoriam – a faithful Methodist of the old school.”  Also listed is John Morrell, “In memoriam – One of the most earnest & devout Christians the Circuit has ever known,” plus Alfred Ingle and members of the Hutton & Wood families, including William Wood, shown as steward & leader.  The Religious census of 1851 was completed by Samuel Roundell.  The chapel records 1836 to 1975 are held at Leeds Archives.


There appears to be no record of a chapel at Lindley.  However, James Myers, “Eventide Review of Primitive Methodism in the Otley Circuit”, published 1920, mentions regular services held originally in the home of Rupert & Hannah Young at Lindley Wood and later in the farmhouse of the Davies family.


The hamlet appears in the early records but it was not until 1903 that a chapel was erected.   George & Ada Carver, James & Christopher Crabtree, William Dale & Mary Halliday appear in the Wesleyan Roll as of “Clifton.”   Mary Halliday is noted as having saved her guinea in threepenny bits.  Northallerton hold the marriage register for 1982-1983 only.

Norwood Bottom

The chapel opened on 1920 and is still in use today.  However the Methodist cause was evident for many years previously.  W F Seals, “Methodism in the Otley Circuit” 1974, mentions services held at the home of Mrs Davy from 1856.  This could be George & Jane Davy who were living at Brass Castle in 1851 but had moved to Leas Bank Hall by 1861.  By the turn of the century the Wesleyans were using the old banqueting hall at Norwood Hall, the home of the Smith and Shepherd families.

The Primitive Methodists held open air meetings at Sword Point in the middle of the nineteenth century and also at Bride Cross House above Dob Park Bridge. The Wesleyan Roll shows – Robert Smith of Norwood Bottom, “Steward, leader, upwards of 40 years ministers & local preachers have been welcomed in his house.   Norwood would be poor indeed without this family.”  Other members of his family are also listed along with Jesse & Ann Wall.


The building was erected in 1835 as a school but shortly afterwards the Robinson Library opened and the school moved there allowing the Primitive Methodists and later the Wesleyans to takeover.   Susannah Holmes paid her guinea for the 20th Century Fund.

Timble Methodist Sunday School Outing 1928

Rear: Alec Wray (driver)

Back row: Billy Ward, Andrew Dickinson, Herbert Proter, Edith Dickinson, Alice Proctor, John Ward, Lily Wise, Willy Dolpin, Thomas Gill, Agnes & Mark Bradley with son Harry

Middle row: not known, Mary Dickinson, Sally Dickinson, Doris Ward, Mary Dickinson with grandson Geoffrey Ellison, Emma Dolphin

Front row: Alice Gill, Harold Beecroft, Rhoda Ellison, Alec Ellison, Nancy Ellison. 

Methodists & Methodism Washburn Valley – Norwood/Havarrah Park to West End

By Stanley Merridew

North Yorkshire Record Office holds Pateley Bridge Circuit records which cover the chapels from Brown Bank to West End. These include baptism records from 1825 to 1961.  All the chapels are together in each volume but the place of residence is shown.

Norwood/Havarrah Park

Known as Brown Bank, this chapel was situated off Watson’s Lane, now a private house.  Northallerton record office have a copy of the Sunday School register 1941-1979. Several names are shown on the Wesleyan Roll:  Darnbrook,  Grange, McKenzie, Gill, Hobson, Hutton


The chapel opened as early as 1763 and was enlarged in 1894 when there were 26 members.  It closed in 1959, also now a private house.  Marriage records 1908-1943 at are held at Northallerton.  At NYRO I came across a list of seat rents for 1910 which mentions the following names:

Mr H Beecroft, John Beecroft, James Hart, Mrs Luty, Mr T Newall, Mrs Patten, Miss J Pennington, Mr F Pennington, R Pennington, Mrs Umpleby, T Varley, Mr W Yeadon.   The only names shown for Fewston on the Wesleyan Roll are John Myers & J Bramley.

Hardisty Hill

The chapel, situated on a lane just to the east of Hardisty Hill opened in 1838 and closed in 1994. 

There was also a Reading Room until relatively recently at the foot of Hardisty Hill.  The North Yorkshire Record Office holds a copy of the Sunday School register, attendances shown below:

John W Andrew 1896 to 1898            Dewhirst Beecroft 1909 to 1911

William Beecroft 1895 to 1897 & 1909 to 1911     James E Gill 1892

George Hardcastle 1892 to 1895         Charles Harrison 1897 to 1898

Richard Knowles 1910 to 1911           Andrew Maud 1893

Bradley Maud 1895 to 1898               Titus Maud 1894 to 1895

Ethel Maud 1897 to 1898                   Lucy Maud 1895 to 1898

Emily Neal 1896 to 1898                   Annie L Newall 1909

Annie M Watkinson 1894 to 1896      Richard Watkinson 1895 to 1896

Charles Watkinson 1895 to 1897                          

Five members of the Gill family contributed to the Wesleyan Roll ( 20th Century Fund), Michael, John , Wilks, Sarah & Esther.

West End

Taken at the centenary celebration in 1936

An article in the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer 12th May 1962 regarding the above chapel,  just before closure, states it opened in 1836 and was built on land previously owned by John Hall of Thruscross.  The chapel was located at the top of Clogger Lane.   Some of the families involved in the past are mentioned: Newbould, Wigglesworth, Gill, Bulmer, Metcalf & Verity.  It also states that the tea at the Centenary was served by Mrs F Nelson, Mrs Wood, Mrs Newbould, Mrs J Verity, Mrs V Verity, Mrs Smith, Mrs G Marshall, Miss S Peel, Miss S Walker.

There was also a Primitive Methodist chapel.  From documents of a land sale held by Mikki French, one of her ancestors, Godfrey Horsman  of West End, sold to Joshua Hardisty (cordwainer), Joseph Dinsdale (linen weaver), James Fryer (flaxdresser), Thomas Shepherd (weaver) all of Thruscross, Joseph Stott (farmer), Francis Sutcliffe (miller), both of Stonebeckdown & John Watson (wheelwright) of Stonebeckup in 1929  a plot of land for the purpose of building a Primitive Methodist Chapel.  The document states the plot of land was close to Holmefield and Brecks Lane.  This site was, I believe just north of the present Reservoir Road.  The building was sold in 1902, so I assume the two congregations came together.  See the first paragraph regarding baptism records.

Just two names appear on the Wesleyan Roll: Enoch Garth & John Verity.

In an account book dated 1811 there is a list of where collections were received.  At this early date many of the chapels were not in existence and these may have been house meetings.  Amongst the places mentioned, Bramley Head and Bramelane are shown.  The Wesleyan Chapel at West End (opened 1836) was close to Bramley Head and Bramelane is near to Brown Bank.   .       

A list of Circuit members dated 1838 for each chapel within the Pateley Bridge Circuit: 

BlubberhousesIsabellaCadmanBrown BankJohnRenton
BlubberhousesJamesChildBrown BankDinahRenton
BlubberhousesMargaretChildBrown BankThomasRobinson
BlubberhousesThomasElliotBrown BankThomasSimpson
BlubberhousesAnnElliotBrown BankMaryStockdale
BlubberhousesMatildaElliotBrown BankGraceStubbs
BlubberhousesHannahKeswickBrown BankSarahThackrey
BlubberhousesEllenLawyerBrown BankJosephTodd
BlubberhousesRobertMetcalfeBrown BankElizaTodd
BlubberhousesJohnNewellBrown BankHannahTurner
BlubberhousesSusannahNewellBrown BankWilliamTurner
BlubberhousesMargaretSunterBrown BankElizabethWhitaker (child)
BlubberhousesEllenTerryBrown BankJonathanWhitaker |(child)
BlubberhousesJohnThackrayBrown BankHannahWilson
BlubberhousesMaryThackrayBrown BankRobertWilson
BlubberhousesMaryWebbBrown BankBenjaminWilson
Brown BankJosephAinsworthFewstonAnnBramley
Brown BankJonathanAndrews (child)FewstonMaryBramley
Brown BankHannahBoltonFewstonMaryBuck
Brown BankHannahBoltonFewstonElizabethBuck
Brown BankRobertBramleyFewstonSarahBuck
Brown BankHannahBramleyFewstonSusannahBuck
Brown BankJohnBramleyFewstonHannahDemaine
Brown BankWilliamBroadbeltFewstonMarkDemaine
Brown BankSarahBroadbeltFewstonMatthewDemaine
Brown BankMaryDarnbrookFewstonJaneDickinson
Brown BankAnnDarnbrookFewstonElizabethDunwell
Brown BankMaryDibbFewstonThomasElison
Brown BankThomasDriverFewstonMaryElison
Brown BankMaryDriverFewstonGeorgeHardy
Brown BankAnnEmsleyFewstonHenryJackson
Brown BankCharlesEmsleyFewstonHannahMorris
Brown BankMary AnnEmsleyFewstonThomasPeel
Brown BankHannahFerndaleFewstonSusannahPeel
Brown BankJosephGrangeFewstonSamuel 
Brown BankWilliamGreenFewstonElizabethReed
Brown BankDanielGreenFewstonJosephSettle
Brown BankSamuelHudsonWest EndElizabethAbbot
Brown BankMaryHudsonWest EndWalterBuckle
Brown BankJosephIrishWest EndSarahBuckle
Brown BankBenjaminJacksonWest EndEllenGarrs
Brown BankJosephJacksonWest EndAnthonyGarth
Brown BankElizabethJacksonWest EndStephenHardisty
Brown BankHenryJacksonWest EndSarahHolmes
Brown BankMaryJacksonWest EndEllenHolmes
Brown BankWilliamMargerisonWest EndElizabethImeson
Brown BankThomasMoonWest EndBettyImeson
Brown BankWilliamMoonWest EndAnnMyers
Brown BankJanePeelWest EndMarthaNewbould
Brown BankRobertPeelWest EndEmmanuelShepherd
Brown BankJosephRawsonWest EndElizabethWaite
Brown BankSusannahRawsonWest EndAmeliaWilkinson
Brown BankSusannahRawson   

I assume those headed under “Blubberhouses” refers to Hardisty Hill Chapel.

At the archives there is also a Society Roll Book dated 1931. 

Washburn Valley takes at last to Football

Yorkshire Post 13th Nov 1948

For as long as anyone can recall most of the young men from the Washburn Valley have spent their Saturday afternoons visiting shops and cinemas in Harrogate and Otley.  Tomorrow eleven of them will come together to play in a football match – probably the first ever staged in this valley of the reservoirs.

They will wear black and white jerseys because some of the team thought they were the colour of Arsenal.  After the match they will drink tea made on a stove in the Parochial Hall with water carried two hundred yards from the Post Office.

There are 24 men and boys in the football club but there were fewer than 24 names on the list that were sent to the selectors.  That was because there is a ploughing match at Kettlesing tomorrow.  Some of those hoping to play football will be ploughing instead.   The ploughing match will go on for five Saturdays.  The football team wonder how long they will be able to carry on if ploughing continues to attract players away.

This is the team for the first match against Pool Reserves:

B Newbould (joiner) A Armitage (joiner) L Spence (farmer) C Lancaster (reservoir worker) J H Noble (head forester & captain) F Beecroft (farmer) R M—? (ex German POW & farm worker) E Spence (mason’s labourer) W Ellison (schoolboy) J Marsland (driver) K Boyce (electrician).

Wilson Ellison is the youngest player – 15 and Jock Noble is the eldest – “into his thirties.”  Mr Armitage, husband of the Postmistress, said “I played rugby for 10 years when I lived at Horsforth but the last time I played football was two years ago in Burma.”  Twenty five year old Eric Spence said, “Apart from the war, I have always in the valley.  I was 18 when I went into the Army.  Up to then I had never played in a football match and never seen one.  I had heard a few broadcasts.”  The Vicar of Fewston, Rev. H Clegg, started the club, has received a letter from P.C. John W Heley of Halifax Borough Police who was formerly Fewston’s policeman, he sent them this message: “It is an amazing achievement.  Aston Villa were formed under a street lamp, anything can happen.”

No one can estimate what size the crowd will be.  If everyone in Fewston, Timble, Blubberhouses and Norwood (which covers 43 sq miles) came along the re could only be 470 spectators.