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.

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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 result could only be 470 spectators.