Dewsbury Baptist Church History up to 1912.






The Church at Dewsbury is the outcome of a suggestion made in 1863, by Rev. Benjamin Wood, of Bradford, to the General Baptist Conference, that work should be attempted in the town. Mr. James Smith, with Mr. James Astin, engaged the Assembly Room in Wakefield Road, the first service being held on. July 21st, 1864. On January 15th, 1865, the Church was duly organised, the Revs. B. Wood and R. Horsfield giving the right hand of fellowship to thirteen persons. Baptismal services were conducted at the public baths, and excited much local interest. In 1867, a call to the pastorate was given to Mr. N. H. Shaw, of Chilwell College, who commenced his ministry on August 4th.

At this time the Church adopted the financial method of weekly offerings to which it has ever since adhered, although it did not place these under a voluntary assessment until 1881. Chapel building efforts were commenced, and, in August, 1869, the Conference offered £1,000 to the fund if the Dewsbury Church would engage to raise an equal sum. The challenge was eagerly accepted, and on December 7th, 1871, the building was opened for worship free of debt, the inaugural sermon being preached by Rev. Alexander Maclaren. The Church applied itself with systematic diligence to the visitation of the neighbourhood, and, in 1872, became self-supporting.

In 1874, it joined the Baptist Union. Mr. Shaw concluded his ministry in 1878, having dedicated his future services to missionary work in Rome. He was succeeded by Rev. George Eales, who remained for four years and was followed by Rev. A. C. Perriam (1884-91). In 189o, the chapel was renovated, and a lecture room built. In 1892, Rev. Charles Payne undertook the pastoral charge; which he sustained for thirteen years. Upon his retirement the call of the Church was given to Rev. J. Stewart, M.A., whose ministry extended from 1907 to 1911. During its history the Church has maintained a steady rate of progress, and is at the present time in a healthy and vigorous condition. The present pastor is Rev. D. T. Patterson, who has recently removed from Halifax to his new charge.






John Wesley


Rev. J. Wesley's Journal (1752)  



Fri. 10. I preached at Dewsbury, where the case of the Vicar and his Curate will not be forgotten. After a conversation I had with the Vicar, above three years ago, he was deeply serious, till he conversed again with rich and honourable men, who soon earned him of that distraction. Yet in a while he relapsed, and was more serious than ever, till he was taken ill. The Physician made light of his illness, and said, "He would do well enough, if they did but keep those Methodists from him." They did so. However, in a few days he died, and, according to his own express order, was carried to the grave at seven in the morning, by eight poor men, (whome he had named,) and buried on the north side of the church. The Curate who buried him, sickening the same week, insisted that the Methodists should not be kept from him. About ten days after he died; and, according to his desire, was, about the same hour, carried also by eight poor men, and laid in a grave close to that of Mr. Robson.

Charles Wesley:   Sept. 17 - Nov. 5, 1756: Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester


Tues., October 12th. I took my leave of Leeds in prayer at William Shent's. Some having ascribed the division to him, I examined that matter to the bottom, having talked largely with all parties, especially Miss Norton and Mr. Edwards himself. Upon the whole, I am convinced that the ground of all was, Miss Norton's hatred to William Shent. This induced her to draw away Mr. Edwards from us. He could not resist the temptation of a certain provision for his family. Interest blinded his eyes, so that the means to his end seemed right and honest to him, though base and treacherous to us. As for William Shent, I do not find he did more than every upright man would have done on the occasion. He watched to counteract them who were daily seducing our children. He gave early notice to my brother of their design, and thereby drew all their resentment upon himself; as every honest Preacher will qui cum ingeniis conflictatur ejusmodi. Since the separation (Mr. Edwards's friend informed me) he has behaved with such mildness and discretion, as has kept the rest of the flock together, when violence or harsh treatment might have scattered them all. I took a friendly leave of Miss Norton, who assured me some of our ablest Preachers were entirely in Mr. Edwards's interest. Nec nihil, nec omnia.

I preached in Wakefield at ten, to a quieter audience than I have ever met with fellow Methodists there.

I rode to Joseph Bennet's, place near Dewsbury, and preached very awakeningly to a mixed, attentive congregation. My vehement exhortation to the Society was on the usual subject, "Continuance in the word," and in prayers, family and public. I passed the evening with Jonas Edwards. I would gladly part with five hundred Methodists, to be ordained, and useful like him.



William Camden

Passing by the Calder, now leaving these other places behinde him, and having passed by Kirkley an house in times past of religious Nunnes, and the tombe of one Robin Hood that right good and honest Robber (in which regard he is so much spoken of), goeth to Dewsburrough, seated under an high hill. Whether it had the name of Dui that tutelar God of the place of whom I wrote a little before, I am not able to say. Surely the name is not unlike, for it soundeth as much as Duis Burgh , and flourished at the verie first infancie, as it were, of the Church springing up amongst the Englishmen in this Province. For I have heard that there stood a Crosse heere with this inscription:


That is,


And that this Paulinus was the first Archbishop of Yorke, about the yeere of our redemption 626, all Chronicles doe accord. From hence Calder, running by Thornhill (which from knights of that surname is descended to the Savills), passeth hard by Wakefield a towne famous for clothing, for greatnesse, for faire building, a well frequented mercate, and a bridge, upon which King Edward the Fourth erected a beautifull chappell in memoriall of those that lost their lives there in battaile. the possession some time this was of the Earles of Warren and of Surry, as also Sandall Castle adjoyning, which John Earle of Warren (who was alwaies fleshly lustfull) built when he had used the wife of Thomas Earle of Lancaster more familiarly then honesty would require, to the end he might deteine and keepe her in it securely from her husband. By this townes side, when the civill warre was hote heere in England and setled in the very bowels thereof, Richard Duke of Yorke, father to King Edward the Fourth (who chose rather to hazard his fortune than to stay the good time thereof) was slaine in the field by those that tooke part with the house of Lancaster. The Tract lying heere round about for a great way together is called the Seigniory or Lordship of Wakefield, and hath alwaies for the Seneschal or Steward one of the better sort of Gentlemen dwelling thereby. Which office the Savills have oftentimes borne, who are heere a very great and numerous familie, and at this daie Sir John Savill knight beareth it, who hath a very sightly faire house not farre of at Howley, which maketh a goodly shew. Calder is gone scarce five miles farther when hee betaketh both his water and his name also to the river Are. Where at their very meeting together standeth betweene them Medley, in times past Mede-ley , so called of the situation, as it were, in the midest between two rivers. The seat it was in the age aforegoing of Sir Robert Waterton Master of the Horse to King Henry the Fourth, but now of Sir John Savil a right worshipful knight and a most worthy Baron of the Kings Exchequer, whom I acknowledge full gladly in love and courtesie to have favored me, and out of his learning to have furthered this worke.





George Head: DEWSBURY.

The town of Dewsbury is not only celebrated for its manufacture of blankets, but also for a novel business or trade which has sprung up in England, in addition to the arts and sciences, of late years—namely, that of grinding old garments new; literally tearing in pieces fusty old rags, collected from Scotland, Ireland, and the Continent, by a machine called a "devil," till a substance very like the original wool is produced: this, by the help of a small addition of new wool, is respun and manufactured into sundry useful coarse articles: such as the wadding which Messrs. Stultze and Co. introduce within the collars of their very fashionable coats, and various descriptions of druggets, horse sheeting, &c.

The trade or occupation of the late owner, his life and habits, or the filthiness and antiquity of the garment itself, oppose no bar to this wonderful process of regeneration; whether from the scarecrow or the gibbet, it makes no difference; so that, according to the transmutation of human affairs, it no doubt frequently does happen, without figure of speech or metaphor, that the identical garment to-day exposed to the sun and rain in a Kentish cherry orchard, or saturated with tobacco smoke on the back of a beggar in a pothouse, is doomed, in its turn, "perfusus liquidis odoribus," to grace the swelling collar, or add dignified proportion to the chest of the dandy. Old flannel petticoats, serge, and bunting, are not only unravelled and brought to their original thread by the claws of the devil, but this machine, by-the-way, simply a series of cylinders armed with iron hooks, effectually, it is said, pulls to pieces and separates the pitchmark of the sheep's back—which latter operation really is a job worth of the very devil himself. Those who delight in matters of speculation have here an ample field, provided they feel inclined to extend their researches on this doctrine of the transmigration of coats; for their imagination would have room to range in unfettered flight, even from the blazing galaxy of a regal drawing room down to the night cellars and lowest haunts of London, Germany, Poland, Portugal, &c., as well as probably even to other countries visited by the plague. But as such considerations would only tend to put a man out of conceit with his own coat, or afflict some of my fair friends with an antipathy to flannel altogether, they are much better let alone: nevertheless, the subject may serve as a hint to those whom a spirit of economy may urge to drive an over-hard bargain with their tailor, or good housewives, who inconsiderately chuckle at having been clever enough, as they imagine, to perform an impossibility—that is to say, in times while the labourer is worthy of his hire, to buy a pair of blankets for less than the value of the wool. These economists my treasure up much useful information, by considering well the means by which materials may be combined to suit their purpose: for the "shoddy," as it is called, may be, as occasion requires, mixed with new wool in any proportion; so as to afford, by the help of various artists, in this free country, equal satisfaction to all parties, whether the latter be tidy or dirty by nature.

As I was anxious to see somewhat of the above process, I walked from Dewsbury to the village of Battley Carr, on the river Calder, about a mile distant, where there are several rag mills, and paid a visit to one of them. The rags were ground, as they term it, in the uppermost apartment of the building, by machines, in outward appearance like Cook's agricultural winnowing machine, and each attended by three or four boys and girls. The operation of the machinery was so thoroughly incased in wood, that nothing was to be seen, though it consisted, as has been before observed, of cylinders armed with hooks, which, being of different sizes, perform their office one set after another, till the rags put in at the top come out at the bottom, to all appearance like coarse short wool. A single glance at the ceremony going forward was quite sufficient to convey a tolerable idea of the business—a single whiff of air from the interior of the apartment almost more than



Early history

In Saxon times, Dewsbury was a centre of considerable importance. The ecclesiastical parish of Dewsbury encompassed Huddersfield, Mirfield and Bradford. Ancient legend records that in 627 Paulinus, the first Bishop of York, preached here on the banks of the River Calder. Numerous Saxon graves have been found in Dewsbury and Thornhill.[4]

Dewsbury Minster

Dewsbury Minster lies near the River Calder, traditionally on the site where Paulinus preached. Some of the visible stonework in the nave is Saxon, and parts of the church also date to the 13th century. The tower houses "Black Tom", a bell which is rung each Christmas Eve, one toll for each year since Christ's birth, known as the "Devil's Knell", a tradition dating from the 15th century. The bell was given by Sir Thomas de Soothill, in penance for murdering a servant boy in a fit of rage. The tradition was commemorated on a Royal Mail postage stamp in 1986. [2]

Dewsbury market was established in the 14th century for local clothiers. Occurrences of the plague in 1593 and 1603 closed the market and it reopened in 1741.

Throughout the Middle Ages Dewsbury retained a measure of importance in ecclesiastical terms, collecting tithes from as far away as Halifax in the mid-14th century. John Wesley visited the area five times in the mid-18th century, and the first Methodist Society was established in 1746. Centenary Chapel on Daisy Hill commemorates the centenary of this event, and the Methodist tradition remained strong in the town. [3]


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1837.

"DEWSBURY, a parish-town, on the north side of the river Calder, in the Lower Division of the Wapentake of Agbrigg, and in the liberty of the manor of Wakefield, is distant 8 miles S.S.W. of Leeds, 9 miles S.E. of Bradford and N.E. of Huddersfield, 10 miles E. by S. of Halifax, 6 miles W. by N. of Wakefield, and 187 miles N.N.W of London. Though it is a place of great antiquity, and was in Saxon times the head of a parish comprisiing an area of no less than 400 miles, it does not appear to have begun to rise from the rank of a village, till the early part of the eighteenth century, the charter for its market, (held every Wednesday) not being obtained till 1740, after which, its growing prosperity and increasing woollen manufactures, received a powerful impetus by the extension of the navigation of the Calder from the river Aire to Salter Hebble, in 1760; thus opening a direct communication from the town to the eastern and western oceans, and to the principal towns in the north of England. It is now a flourishing and populous town, delightfully seated in the picturesque vale of the Calder, at the foot, and partly upon a bold south-eastern acclivity, environed to the north and west with gently undulating hills, rising to a considerable elevation above the valley; the south side of which is bounded by hanging woods. The old parts of the town have not a very prepossessing appearance; no regular plan having been adopted in the erection of the building and the formation of the streets, except in the modern parts and in the suburbs, which now extend to the populous village of Batley Car, in the parish of Batley and Wapentake of Morley, and comprise, Boothroyd, Daw Green, Moor Side, Spink Well and Street Side, which (less than twenty years ago) were detached hamlets in the township of Dewsbury. The population of the town and suburbs may now be estimated at about 12,000; the township of Dewsbury having nearly doubled its number of inhabitants, from the year 1801 to 1831, as will be seen in the following enumeration of the four township of Dewsbury Parish with the number of Inhabitants in each at the four decennial periods of the Parliamentary census.

Population in A.D.                              1801    1811    1821    1831

Dewsbury* township                          4566    5059    6380    8272

Hartshead-cum-Clifton township      1628    1728    2007    2408

Soothill township+                              2134    2609    3699    3849

                                                             -------     -------    -------    -------

Total                                                  11,752 13,479 16,261 19,854


 * That part of Batley Car which adjoins the town contains about 3,000 inhabitants

 Soothill includes the large villages of Earls Heaton and Hanging Heaton.


THE DEWSBURY UNION, formed under the new Poor Law, in January, 1837, comprises the parishes of Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield, Thornhill, West Ardsley, and part of Birstal, and is superintended by a Board of 24 Guardians: to whom Mr. Wm, Carr of Gomersall, is clerk.

Dewsbury is in the heart of the Yorkshire woollen district, being in the centre of that populous division which is engaged chiefly in the manufacture of blanket, duggets, flushings, coverlets, and carpets: besides which, the finer descriptions of cloth are now made here. For the convenience of the merchants and manufacturers of the town and neighbourhood, a CLOTH AND BLANKET HALL was erected here in 1836, and opened April 12th, 1837, when the shareholders and others, to the number of 200, honoured this important epoch in the commercial history of Dewsbury with a public dinner. The hall is a large and commodious stone building, and is opened for the sale of cloth and blankets every Wednesday; when here is also a good Market for provisions, ec. Three Fairs are held annually, on the Wednesday before Old May day, the Wednesday before New Michaelmas day, and on Oct. 15th. The town was first lighted with gas in 1829, and the approaches to it have been greatly improved by the formation of a broad and spacious new road to Leeds, in 1821, and another to Bradford, in 1813, and by cutting through a steep and lofty hill, in the latter year, and filling up the deep valley on the Wakefield road, near Earls Heaton, on the east side of the town. The Leeds road is now lined with respectable dwellings and factories, extending from the town to Batley car, and many more have been erected on the other new roads. Petty Sessions have been held here on every alternate Saturday, since 1829, when several of the neighbouring gentlemen, qualified as magistrates. On the long causeway, is a small Prison, and at Balm hill is the Workhouse, which has long served the township, but will soon have to be enlarged for the reception of paupers form all parts of the "Dewsbury Union." Considering the combustible nature of its manufactures, destructive fires are happily of rare occurrence in this town; but one of them, which happened in 1826, at the dyehouse of Messers, Halliley, Son, and Brooke, was marked by a most singular and affecting fatality. W,. Hanson, who had been a faithful servant of the firm about 33 years, was called out of bed to assist in extinguishing the flames/ but he had no sooner obtained a view of the conflagration, that he fell to the ground a corpse. On the following day, while Mr. Wigglesworth, the coroner, was preparing to hold an inquest on the body, he was suddenly seized with a fit of apoplexy, and died in a few hours.




ANCIENT HISTORY : - That late reverend historian, Dr. Whitaker, says, Dewsbury was the common centre from which the light of Christianity diverged over the vale of Calder to the north, and to the east and west far beyond it; the parent of the parishes of Thornhill and Burton, which are known to have existed in the time of the Conqueror, and of those of Almondbury, Kirkheaton, Huddersfield and Bradford, all of which continue to attest their ancient dependence by prescriptive payments to the incumbent of the mother church; to which may be added, on the clearest evidence, those of Halifax and Mirfield, though they have either ceased to pay such an acknowledgement, or were not originally charged with it. The whole of the Saxon parish of Dewsbury may be estimated at an area of 400 miles. In all these circumstances it forms an exact counterpart to the original parish of Whalley, in Lancashire. The two churches were placed in the first expansion of their respective vallies, those of East and West Calder: and the point at which the two original parishes touched is about 23 miles from Dewsbury, and 14 from Whalley. An opinion has obtained currency, that the Parish Church of Dewsbury was built during the missionary labours of Paulinus. This opinion, Dr Whitaker combats in his "Loidis and Elmete" he, however, maintains, that though the personal ministry of Paulinus was not immediately followed by the erection of churches, yet that this apostle of Northumbria erected basilica or crosses, and it is probable that the present Parish Church of Dewsbury stand upon the site of one of these Saxon edifices. The following inscription of placed on a cross which at present stands at the east end of the chancel, on the outside of the church - "Paulinus hic praedicavit et Celebravit, A.D. 627." This is, however, not the identical Saxon wheel cross, but a fac simile of it, made probably from Camden's traditionary copy. Some years ago, there was found in making an excavation, on the estate of Mr. Halliley, an old iron spear in good preservation, supposed to be Roman; and in the Spring of 1821, the late Mr Carrett, in digging foundations for his offices, found enclosed in a small building of stone about 5 feet square, covered with a strong arch of stone, about 3 feet below the surface, an ancient jug or pitcher, of small size, supposed also to be Roman: at the same time was found, and within four yards of the above, an ancient well, walled round with stone, about 8 yards deep, filled up with rubble stones, which has since been cleaned out, but nothing particular discovered. It is supposed to have been filled up for centuries. In the years 1766 and 1767, the walls of the church gave way, and were pulled down but with a laudable regard to the preservation of the productions of antiquity, all the inside of the church which could be preserved, was permitted to stand. This partial demolition brought to light, not the original cross of Paulinus, but some remnants probably of equal antiquity, amongst the most singular and valuable of which is part of a Saxon tomb. These are now deposited in the garden of the Vicarage house. Antiquarians supposed the name, Dewsbury, to be derived from the original planter of the village, Dui or Dew, who, previous to the arrival of Paulinus, had fixed his abode and fortified his "Bury". Another conjecture holds, that the original name is Dewsborough, or God's Town. A superstitious practice of considerable antiquity still exists here, which consists in ringing the large bell of the church at midnight on Christmas eve, and this knell is called "the Devil's passing bell."


In Domesday Book, it is said, "in Deusberia there are three carucates to be taxed, which two ploughs may till. This land belongs to Wakefield, yet King Edward had in it a manor. It now belongs to the King, and there are six villains and two bordars, with four ploughs, a priest, and a church. The whole manor is four quarentens long, and six broad, In the time of King Edward, the value was ten shillings, and it is the same now." This it is seen that Dewsbury was an ancient demesne of the crown; and as a part of the manor of Wakefield, it has passed to the successive lords of that liberty, which is now held by the Duke of Leeds; but the soil is mostly free hold, and belongs to a great number or proprietors.



THE PARISH CHURCH, dedicated to All Saints, is of great antiquity, though its external walls bear a modern aspect, having been rebuilt in 1766-7, as has already been seen; and it received a further reparation and enlargement in 1823. It is a tolerably spacious edifice, comprising a nave, aisles, chancel, an octagonal vestry on the north side, and a tower at the west end. The columns are of the age of Henry III., and over the communion table is a painting of the Resurrection. The great bell is said to have been given by Sir Thomas Soothill, as a compensation for the murder of a boy, whom he threw into the forge dam. The chapel of the Soothills, at the head of the north aisle, contains the monument of Bishop Tilson, who like some others, "had to lament his own imprudence in quitting a good English benefice for an Irish bishopric." Here is also a monument, with a very elegant Latin inscription to the memory of Dr. Nettleton, the amiable author of the Essay on Virtue and Happiness. The vicarage, valued in the Liber Regis at £22.13s. 9d., is now worth £233per annum, exclusive of the vicarage house. The King, is patron, and the Rev Thomas Allbutt, A,M., is the present incumbent. The Rev. Henry Nussey, B.A., is curate, and Mr. Joseph Ward is the clerk.



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, on Dewsbury Moor, is a handsome modern fabric, erected under the million act; the whole cost £5502.16s.8d.being defrayed by a parliamentary grant. It is of Carpenter's Gothic, comprising a body and aisles, with a tower at the west end, from a design by Mr. J. Taylor, of Leeds. It has only 600 sittings, of which 248 are free. The first stone was laid August 7th 1823, but the building was not consecrated till September 4th, 1827. The curacy has been endowed with £600 of Queen Anne's Bounty, and is enjoyed by the Rev. John Paine. The vicar has the patronage of this, and also of two other churches in the parish, built under this million act, at Earls Heaton and Hanging Heaton, from designs by the same architect, and of about the same dimensions.


Here are three Methodist Chapels; viz, one belonging to the Wesleyans, built about 50 years ago, of stone; one to the New Connexion, erected in 1836; and one to the Primitives, built in 1824. Here is likewise a Friends' Meeting house, rebuilt 1831; and an Independent Chapel, erected in 1814. These places of worship are neat and commodious, and like th churches, have well- attended Sunday schools.



Dewsbury CHARITY School was founded about the middle of the last century, when £1100, being the amount of donations given by Mary Bedford, Wm Walker, and Thos Bedford, for the education of the poor of Dewsbury, was laid out in the purchase of Hedge-end- farm, at North Bierley, except about £100, expended in erecting a school-house. The farm contains about 40 acres, and is let for £59 per annum. In 1795, the trustees sold the coal under the farm for £2800; and in 1810, they expended upwards of £1300 in purchasing land, and erecting thereon a house for the teachers, and a large school-room, with a yard and play ground. They are also possessed of a house in Dewsbury, formerly used as a Girls' school, but now let for £10. 10s a year. They have likewise £1100, three and a half per cent, annuities, purchased with money arising form the sale of coal and swelling the yearly income of the school to about £108, of which £80 is paid to the master, with £2 for books; and the surplus income has been for many years accumulating for the purpose of re-establishing the Girls' school. About 80 boys are instructed as free scholars in reading, writing, and arithmetic.


Wheelwright's Free School, in Dewsbury, is now conducted on the National system, and was endowed in 1727, by John Wheelwright, with a portion of the valuable property, which he bequeathed for the foundation and support of schools at Rishworth and Dewsbury. His trustees pay £100 per annum to the Dewsbury National school, which is now attended by 100 boys and 100 girls; who each pay 1d per week, towards the cost of ink, pens, copy books, &c. The master has a yearly salary of £50, and the mistress £40; and the former has the free use of the school dwelling. The Poor's Doles of Dewsbury consist only of two annuities of 20s., left by Michael Bentley, in 1617, out of Pepper royd close, and 20s. 8d. left by Michael Bentley jun. In 1621, out of Lady close. These donors also gave some cottages for the poor, and their site is now occupied by three houses built by the township, for the residence of poor families.


The Post-Office is at Mr Paul Fletcher's, Westgate. Letters arrive by a horse post from Wakefield at 7 morning, and ½ past 5 afternoon, and are dispatched at 5 morning and half past two afternoon."


[Transcribed from White's History, gazetteer and directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1837]



Baptist minister’s fond memories


14:43 Sunday 15th  June 2014


A veteran Baptist minister has left his position after more than a decade of service.

The Rev Brian Goodall has retired from his role at Dewsbury Baptist Church where he served the congregation for 12 years.


It will be his last post as a minister after 44 years of service, preaching in Brussels, Plymouth, Huddersfield and Dewsbury.


But he said his work with the church was not over.


“Obviously I’ll still continue to be a friend to Dewsbury Baptist Church and I’ll still come around from time to time,” he said.


“In 12 years you invest a lot of yourself and with Dewsbury being a small town you get to know people very well.”


Mr Goodall, 67, said baptising adults was the part of his job he would remember the most fondly.


He said: “When we baptise adults they are making a personal declaration of their Christian faith.”


He was also proud of the work the church had done through Care Dewsbury to help homeless people and those with addictions.


He said: “I think we have helped people in many different ways”.


Mr Goodall’s father, Stanley Goodall, also served in the Baptist church. While Mr Goodall said it had a big effect on his life, he felt the path he had chosen was his own.


Mr Goodall led his final service at Dewsbury Baptist Church on June 1st 2014.