By: Stanley Merridew
Addingham, along with most Wharfedale villages was visited by travelling Methodist preachers from the middle of the eighteenth century.
Grimshaw, Colbeck, Maskew and John Wesley
all preached in the village. One of
those converted at the time was Thomas Lee. Born in Silsden, he served an apprenticeship
in Addingham and became one of Wesley’s travelling band of preachers.
Originally the converts would have met in private houses. One farmhouse on Addingham Moorside continued as a meeting place for methoidst until well into the twentieth century. The first chapel was erected in 1778 in Lidget Lane (Back Lane). This was enlarged in 1808 at the time when Addingham became the head of a circuit stretching from Burnsall to Ilkley and across into Airedale. The land was donated by the Greenwood family and their family mausoleum stands in the large burial ground adjacent to the building. Wharfedale FHG transcribed the gravestones in the early 1980s.
This chapel remained in use until 1973 when it
was converted into housing. The chapel
moved to Chapel Lane/Wesley Place,
which had previously been built as a Wesleyan
School. It remains there to this day.
We have published the registers of baptism, marriages and burials as well as the memorial inscriptions. In addition, Bradford Archives hold day school and Sunday School records from 1848 to 1943 plus other material including leader’s minutes and chapel steward’s accounts which will identify families involved with the running of the organisation. I found at the archives an “Assignment of Right of Burial” signed by John Smiles of Addingham, Grocer dated 25 January 1855:
………..£25 paid by Joseph Styles of
Grassington to place a gravestone in the chapel burial ground at Addingham
granted by the trustees – Thomas Lister the elder, Isaac Bland, John I’Anson,
William Greenwood, Thomas Mason, Francis Wall, James Cockshott, William
Cockshott, Henry Flesher Bland, Abraham Emmott, John Beck, Joseph Smith,
William Smith, Richard Steel, William Lister, Lister Cockshott, Frederick
From around 1850 part of the Wesleyan Church movement decided to breakaway from the main body, forming the Wesleyan Reform Church. This included part of the congregation of Addingham and they constructed their own chapel in 1861 on Main Street. This chapel is still in use.
Addingham Mount Hermon
We have transcribed and published the baptisms from 1861. Further records may still be in the possession of the church.
The Memorial Hall, built in 1913 was originally a Primitive Methodist chapel. But by 1955 it had become the Memorial Hall we know today. Sadly no records appear to have survived
Addingham appears to have been a breeding ground for Methodist preachers. William Kendall Gale, born in 1873 in Addingham and baptised at Mount Hermon where he later became Pastor. There is a plaque in his honour at the chapel.
Another was Henry Flesher Bland, born 1818 in Addingham son of Anthony Bland and Martha Flesher. He married Emma Levell in Addingham. He first became a preacher in Addingham and emigrated to Canada, where he rose to become one of the leading lights in methodism. Two of his sons also became preachers.
The Methodist School
was built largely by subscription from local families. A booklet dated 1876 held at Bradford
Archives gives the names of all those who made donations. It also lists the trustees as follows:
Joseph Gill, clogger
Robert Mitton, manufacturer
William Simpson, draper
Joseph Pighills, farmer
James Thackray, farmer
James Brown, warp dresser
George Whitaker, shoemaker
Michaels Pighills, farmer
Joseph Steele, shoemaker
Edwin Townson, farmer
Charles Wade, cabinetmaker
Jesse Drake, grocer
All the above of Addinghham plus:
farmer of Draughton, John Gill, farmer of Beamsley, William Mitton of Ilkley
and Giffard Dorey, minister of Ilkley.
Also at Bradford Archives, amongst a large volume of various papers and correspondence, much relating to the school, are two registers concerning the Band of Hope movement, a nonconformist initiative to discourage particularly the young from alcohol. They run from 1919 to 1948, although some years are missing. I have photocopied the Roll of the Young Abstainers League 1919-1927. This shows full name, age at enrollment and address. Plus Abstainers Roll (Senior Section) 1927-1938. This only gives name as Mr or Mrs in most cases and few addresses. These are too large to include in the journal but if you think your family may have been involved please contact me and I will transcribe the relevant information. I wish they were mine!