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Printable Version The History of Earby Baptists

A History of the
Earby Baptists

Ephistle to the Ephesians.

Anabaptists in Earby 2 ANNIVERSARIES 29 (14,28)
Band of Hope 11
BAPTISM 28 (29, 34)
Baptisteries 28
Baptists in Earby 2, 3.
first in England 1
definition of 28
Barnoldswick Church 2, 3, 4, 6, 18, 19, 20, 28, 34.
"Baum Cakers" 23
Bazaars 13, 21, 32.
Beck opposite chape! (Water Street) 28
Belgian refugees 15
Bible classes 14, 21.
Bible Societies 11
Bloody Assize 2
Book of Common Prayer 1
Booth Bridge 33
Brass Band (Earby) 4, 8, 23, 24, 32. BUILDING THE NEW CHAPEL 25
Building funds and accounts 14, 27.
Building tenders 15
Bull Ring 24 Burial fees 30, 31.
Burial ground (old) 13, 30.
Catgate 24, 27.
CEMETERY 30 (31, 32)

Centenery 29 Chapels 1
Chapel (old) 4, 13, 28, 30.
(new) 25, 27.
an old history account 6, 27.
Debts 27, 32.
Chapel Square 30
Chapel Yard 4, 13.
Children in Church 12
in Sunday School 12 Choirmaster 29, 32, 33
Church Ales 13
Church Hall 26
Church formed at Earby 3, 5.
magazine 8
membership 10
of England 1
Collections 6, 7, 14, 24, 25, 29. Concerts 29, 32.
Communion Table 33
Conventicles 1, 2.
Conventicle Act 1
Corporation Act 1.
Cowling Hill Chapel 3, 4, 6.
Deacons 3, 8, 9, 15, 17, 21, 22, 25, 30,
morals of 19.
Debt on new chapel 7, 11, 16, 27, 32.
on old Sunday School 13
Depression in the Church 7
Dippings, The 28
Doctrines of the Church 19
Earby Brotherhood 9 "
String Band 32
Electric wiring 26, 33.
Elslack, preaching at 5
Evacuees from London 15
Feast days 23, 24.
Fields used at Walking Days 24
Five Mile Act 1.
Foundation stones 11,25,27.
Freedom in preaching 9
Free Will offerings 7
Gallery 4, 6, 15, 24.
Games 23, 24, 29.
Gifts to Church 16, 33.
Grammar School 14
Gravestones 13, 15, 30.
Green End House 24
"Grelpit" 4, 12, 28.
Handloom weaving 3
Hens causing disturbance 26
Holidays 23, 24.
Ingleton day trip 8
Lay preachers 5, 1 7
Love Tree at Thornton 24
Manse or ministers house 4, 10, 14, 21.

Memorial tablets 13, 33.
windows 29 MINISTERS 7
Derwent, J.W. 10
Heaton, Richard, 7, 10, 12.
Livingstone, W.A. 10.
Metcalfe, George, 10
Morgan, Edward, 7, 8, 10.
Osborne, W. 7, 10.
Ryland, J.M. 7, 10, 11, 25.
Tallontire, R. 9, 10, 22.
Tinker, Joseph 10
Townsend, J.W. 10
Townsend, C.W. 9, 10, 14.
Trout, W. 10.
Wilkinson, William 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 20,30.
Williams, G. 10
Wynn, Walter 8, 9, 10, 14, 20, 21,22,33.
Ministers salary 3, 7, 9, 10.
duties 19
" ejected from livings 1. Minute Books 3, 5, 7, 17. MISCELLANEA 34
"Mothers of Israel" 29
Murder in Earby 30
"Old Billy" 4, 5, 6.
Open membership 34
Organ & organist 32, 33
PEW RENTS 29 (7)
Pews 4, 11, 13.
Poor Fund 8
Poverty in Earby 17
Processions 23, 24.
Quakers 1 (in Earby 2)
Railings round chapel 15
Rats on Church premises 34
Rector of Thornton 2, 8, 14, 31.
Renovation Fund 26
Re-unions 29
Sabbatarianism 17
Salterforth Church 34
Board 14
Day 3, 6.
Discipline 12
Grammar 14
Night 4. 11.
public 14
tender for 15 SUNDAY SCHOOLS
5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 29, 30, 33.
aims of 12
attendance 12
begun by Robert Raikes 11
library 11
prizes 23
processions 23, 24.
Report for 1858 12, 13.
tea parties 23
teachers 5,11,12, 13,8,14,15,16,20,21.
Weslyan 14
Walking Days 23
Seaside trips 23
Services, times of 34 Singing 23, 24.
Sinning I at Christmas 24
Soldiers in Earby 15 Spiritualism 9
Stall rents 27
Student minister 16
Tea parties 23
Thornton churchyard 31, 32. Toleration Act 1, 2.
Top o't Town 24
Trade depressed in Earby 7, 8, 10, 17. Uniformity Act 1.
Vicar of Kelbrook 8
Victoria Mill fire 8
Visitation Returns 2
Well, village 25
Weslyan proposed cemetery purchase 30
chapel 20, 27.
ministers 8
procession 23, 24.
School 24
Workhouse inmates cheap burial 31 Wheatlands 31

The main object of this history has been to deal with events up to the early part of the present century, but some later items of note are included. This has only been possible by the kind loan of the early Minute Books of the Church, which have provided most of the information. Other sources are a short history of the Church written by Percy Windle, and newspaper articles.
Discipline of the Church (p. 18) comes from a History of the Baptists in Barnoldswick, by the Rev. Evan R. Lewis, 1893. An old account book belonging to the Church contains a building history of the old and new chapels. This is written in pencil on the fly leaves and differ in some respects from that given by other writers and has been included verbatim on pages 6 and 27.
September 1977
1. Reprint of the text of Whitaker's History of Craven for Barnoldswick, Bracewell
and Thornton. 26p
2. Map in five colours showing the past and present names of Earby - with key 20p.
3. Conditions of Employment from a Burnley Mill Office, dated 1852 3p.
4. Drawing of Earby Grammar School by Lesley Whyte 10p.
P.C. 5p.
5. Murder in the Old Lane, by J.A.Walker - a true story 30p.
Now out of print. Second printing at a later date
6. A History of the Earby Baptists, by J.A.Walker 50p.
Available only from the publishers: W.H.Supplies (J.A.Walker), 7 New Road, Earby. Tel: Earby 2253
Printed by W.H.Supplies (J.A.Walker), 7 New Road, Earby. Telephone Earby 2253

Baptist views first attracted public notice in England in 1536 when they were denounced as "detestable heresies utterly to be condemned." Those who upheld them were banished the kingdom or died at the stake. The first permanent Baptist congregation in England did not come into existence till 1611; the pastor was Thomas Helwys, who, jointly with John Smyth, founded the English General Baptist Church.
But it was not until after the Reformation in 1660, when there was a clash of opinion within the Church of England that breakaway movements known as "Dissenters," "Separatists,'''Protestants,' and "Nonconformists" were mainly formed. These humble people who, through the newly translated bible, only wished to worship in their own way, were mercilessly suppressed. Those ministers who would not rigidly conform to the established rites were ejected from their livings, and many were left destitute. Many of them travelled up and down the country from church to church, preaching where they could get leave. When churches were unobtainable and when the weather was too cold to hold forth in the open air, they sought the privacy of the houses and other buildings of their disciples, and these were our earlier "Conventicles" - the earliest Meeting Houses, later termed chapels. See footnote below*
Between 1660 and 1668 the prisons of the kingdom were filled with Nonconformist sufferers. Presbyterians, Independants, Baptists, Quakers, all shared in the common doom. Five thousand are said to have died from their sufferings, not to mention the enormous loss of property and money through fines and confiscation. The Corporation Act excluded all Nonconformists from municipal offices and described them in 1662 as:
" ... living without knowledge and due fear of God do wilfully and schematically abstain and refuse to come to their Parish Churches and other public places where Common Prayer, administration of the Sacrament, and preaching of the Word of God is used ..."
Every parson, vicar or other minister had to make the following declaration to his congregation: "I do hereby declare my unfigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer," It drove out of the Church of England some two thousand clergy, and there was a fine of £100 for a man ministering the Communion without being re-ordained by a bishop. If he preached or lectured he was sent to the common gaol.
In 1664 the Conventicle Act was passed. Dissenters were regarded as a political danger, and it provided that any person over sixteen years of age who attended a Nonconformist service, at which more than five persons were present, should be liable to a fine of five pounds, or three months imprisonment for the first offence. For a second offence the penalty was doubled. For the third offence the fine was to be £100 or in default transportation for a period of seven years. In the following year the Five Mile Act was passed. It provided that all persons in holy orders or " ... pretending to be in holy orders ..."who had not submitted to the provisions of the 1662 Act of Uniformity (of public prayers and administration of sacraments), should swear that they would not take up arms against the king, or attempt any alteration in the government either of Church or State. Failing this, they were not allowed to come, except on a journey, within five miles of any city, town or borough, or any place where they had held cures or conducted services. The penalty for disobedience was a fine of forty pounds.
In 1689 the Toleration Act repealed the Conventicle Acts, and the Nonconformists were given complete freedom of worship, providing they took the following oath:
"I do sincerely promise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance
to their majesties King William and Queen Mary, so help me God."
The name Conventicles was first applied to the small gatherings for religious worship of the followers of Wycliffe (1320 - 1384), and later on it was also the name of the building in which such meetings were held. It came to be used as a term of contempt for the gatherings of Dissenters, and various Acts of Parliament were termed Conventicle Acts, designed to punish those who conducted or frequented conventicles.
The Toleration Act enacted that all persons taking the oath would not be liable to any pains or penalties, or forfeitures mentioned in the previous Acts, " ... or by reason of their nonconformity to the Church of England."
"Provided always. That no congregation or assembly for religious worship shall be permitted or allowed by this act, until the place of such meeting shall be certified to the bishop of the diocese, or to the archdeacon of that archdeaconry, or to the justices of the peace at the general or quarter sessions of the peace for that county, city or place in which such meeting shall be held and registered in the said bishop's or archdeacon's court respectively, or recorded at the said general or quarter sessions; the register or clerk of the peace whereof is hereby required to register the same, and to give certificate thereof to such person as shall demand the same, for which there shall be no greater fee nor reward taken than the sum of sixpence."
"Providing always that if any assembly of persons dissenting from the Church of England shall be held in any place for religious worship with the doors locked, barred, or bolted, during any time of such meeting together, all and every person or persons which shall come to and be at such a meeting, shall not receive any benefit from this law, but be liable to all the pain and penalties of all the aforesaid laws recited in this Act."
This Act came following the short reign of the Catholic king James I, in whose time an Act was passed stating that:
"Whoever should preach in a conventicle under a roof, or should attend either as a preacher or hearer, a conventicle in the open-air, should be punished with death and confiscation of property!'
This was the age of Judge Jeffreys and his 'Bloody Assize' against the Nonconformist. Immediately following the passing of the Toleration Act a court at Knaresborough on 8th. October 1689 registered the houses, of Benjamin Parker of Thornton, and James Walton of Earby for use as 'Meeting Houses.' Even earlier than that, on 19th. July, the Nonconformist Register at Leeds Sessions had also registered the same houses, that of Benjamin Parker is noted as a meeting place for Quakers. The Pontefract Register for April 1699 registered the houses of Sarah Coates and Daniel Parker. The rector of Thornton during this period was Edmund Kough (1688 - 1699) and he became very friendly with the 'Dissenters' as they were then styled. Unlike the Anglican minister whose education and origins were those of the gentry, the Nonconformist minister usually sprang from a lower level in the social scale. As one writer put it "The Anglican dined with the squire, while the Dissenter went to tea with the tenant, People who would never think of presuming to ask the rector to eat with them will familiarly invite the minister to take 'pot luck' at table."
In 1743 there were eight Baptist families living in the parish, they are mentioned in *Archbishop Herring's Visitation Returns, the relevant answers to the questions asked of the Rector of Thornton were:
In this parish are 148 families. Of these 16 are Dissenters, viz:
I 8 Quakers and 8 Anabaptists (meaning to re-baptise)
II In this parish there is no licenced or other Meeting House that I can find out. An Anabaptist teacher formerly resorted hither, but has not been in the parish of late.
H. Richardson - Rector d'Thornton
It may be that at this time the Earby Baptists were already walking to the Baptist Chapel at Barnoldswick. This became a Baptist Church in 1661, although there was an organised society long before that.
*Thomas Herring was the new Archbishop of York and he required a Return from each of the 903 parishes in his diocese, and this gave details of the state of religion in those parishes. Baptists are mentioned in 62 parishes, with 18 chapels.

The most important date in the history of the Baptists in Earby was Good Friday 1819, for on this day the first communion as a separate Church was held in a cottage in the village by a group of twelve men and thirteen women. Previous to this date, as they had no proper Meeting Place of their own, many Earby Baptists had identified themselves with the old established Church at Barnoldswick, the oldest in Yorkshire, formed in 1661; others went to Cowling Hill (formed 1756).
To these two chapels they had to walk in all weathers, and as their numbers increased these devout and earnest people at length considered that the time had come to form a Church of their own. They rightly and naturally thought it would be more convenient, and that they could be of more use and influence in the village as a separate Church than as part of the Church at Barnoldswick. The Barnoldswick friends thought otherwise and were strongly opposed to this step, the first page of the Minute Book of the new Church contains:
"A copy of the Letter of Dismisfion which the undersigned received from the Church at Barnoldswick at the time they left that Church to form the present one in Earby."
Christian Brethren, Barnoldswick, January 17th. 1819.
It gives us great pain to say that in plain opposition to all our advice, and in plain violation of our Solemn Church Covenant, you have forcibly left us as a Church, with which we are very much dissatisfied. Yet we exercise forbearance, and give up your names, and leave you to the disposal of Him who doeth all things well.
Signed by us for all the rest.
Then follows a list of the names of those dismissed:
John Windle Hartley Windle (Deacon and prominent
Wm. Wilkinson, Snr. Betty Windle lay preacher)
Wm. Wilkinson, Jnr. (first minister) Philis Wilkinson
Thomas Reddihough N. Smith
Caleb Wilkinson (later excluded) Wm. Starkie
Nancy Turner (later excluded) Henrv Bracewell
Joseph Holdsworth James Starkie
Isabel Turner John Dean
Margaret Whitaker ("Old Peggy") James Whitaker
Liberty with Disapprobation
(Liberty with dissaproval, or dissatisfaction)
On the following page of the Minute Book are listed ''Names of the members which compose the Baptist Church at Earby, united together May 31st. 1819." These include William Wilkinson as Pastor and Hartley Windle as Deacon, Nancy Turner is listed but then her name crossed out as 'excluded.' The total number of the members is 25
One of the first duties of these pious individuals was to appoint a Leader or Pastor, who would have general oversight of the newly formed Church. They had an obvious choice among themselves in William Wilkinson, a native of Earby, and one of the best educated men in the neighbourhood, the very clear writing in the first Minute Book of the Church is an indication of this. And so, William Wilkinson was appointed, but all the stipend that the members felt they could afford to pay was £10 per year. Like many others in his profession he had to suppliment this very modest provision by Handloom weaving and keeping a day school for children, who paid a few pence a week.
The pastor of Barnoldswick at this time was Nathan Smith, and he was also a weaver, malt merchant, and schoolmaster.

A chapel was now an urgent necessity, and William Wilkinson suggested a project that he had considered. He intended to go on a begging pilgrimage to London, soliciting help from all the Baptist Churches in the towns he passed through on the way. The members readily agreed to release him from his duties and the new pastor set off on his long 500-mile walk.
William Wilkinson, then aged 32, lectured, preached, and visited wealthy laymen, ever seeking subscriptions small and large, and wherever he went his eloquence and zeal touched hearts and opened purses. At last he reached the metropolis of London itself. There he made his way to the Church House and Chapel in Southampton Row, and asked for an interview with the pastor on the Sunday morning before service. The minister of Bloomsbury Chapel, Dr. Brock, a distinguished divine of those days, listened patiently to his story and when asked for a collection on behalf of the Earby brethren, promised one that very morning on the condition that William Wilkinson conducted the service, preached, and then made his own appeal to the worshippers. The handloom weaver from a tiny country village was appalled at the thought, this was something beyond him, he was sure his north-country accent and unpolished manner would lay him open to ridicule. William pleaded with the minister for other terms but without success, and had to enter the pulpit within the hour. He mounted the pulpit steps to face the largest congregation he had ever seen and rose to the occasion magnificently. In the words of the Bible, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him," and he thrilled all hearts with his homely and persuasive oratory. The result of this was a very handsome collection, he returned to his native village with a grand total of one hundred pounds, and we can imagine the joy of the Earby Church when he returned, gave an account of his missionary journey, and placed the gifts of sympathetic brethren upon the table.
With the help of this money a chapel was built in Gravel Pit Road, ('Grelpit' as it was called), now Red Lion Street. Members of the Church dug the foundations, as others were to do when building the later chapel in Water Street, and this was opened on Good Friday in the year 1821.
No gothic columns lofty arches raise: No pealing organ swells the note of praise; Yet there devotion breathes the fervent prayer, To heaven more grateful than the incensed air.
Preachers from the other local chapels were at the opening service. The Rev. Nathan Smith came from Barnoldswick, a striking figure in swallow-tail coat, knee breeches, and buckle shoes. These, with his long silvery hair, made him a picture of veneration. The Rev. Nathaniel Walton was the other visiting preacher, from the chapel of Cowling Hill. The pewing of the chapel was not quite complete for the opening ceremony, and some of the congregation sat on bags of sawdust and shavings, and even logs of wood, but in spite of this the opening services were, as might be expected, crowded and enthusiastic.
At a later date a minister's house was attached to the building, at the entrance to the chapel yard. The attic of this house was used as a vestry and entrance to it was through a gallery of the adjoining church. It was large enough to hold from fifty to seventy persons, and it was in this room that "Old Billy" as the minister became affectionately to be known, held his school during the week, and also the night classes.
Although not having the benefit of collegiate training the pastor became renowned as a preacher and expositer. He was considered a very capable Latin scholar, and taught that subject at evening classes in the attic. The newly formed Earby Brass Band were allowed to practice in this attic, and thus was formed an association between the Baptists and the Band which lasted for about eighty years, during which time they were frequently successful in raising good sums of money for chapel purposes.

'The Particular Baptist Church at this place was formed May 31st 1819 at which time the number of their names together was 16. Part of these formerly belonged to the Church at Barnoldswick and part to the Church as Cowlinghill. Wm. Wilkinson was ordained Pastor over this newly formed Church August 2nd. 1819 by Mr. Jas. Shuttleworth of Cowlinghill, and Mr. Miles Oddy of Haworth, and Mr. J. Gaunt of Sutton."
So reads the Minute Book. It will be noticed that none of these pastors is given the title of 'Reverend.' This first pastor conscientiously entered up the Minute Book, and early examples of this are:
July 1819. Formed a Church.
We who compose the church of particular Baptists in Earby met together for the first time to celebrate the ordinance of the Supper, in August 18th. 1819 .... The number of our names together was twenty one
1821 In a few months after we were formed into a Church, Brother Hartley Windle began to exercise his gifts in preaching. (Hartley Windle was absent on many occasions to give his services as a lay preacher).
Oct. 7th. 1821. We had communion with the Lord and one another in this, this sacred feast at the time.
Dec. 2nd. Had comfortable communion with one another, sung the 24th. Hymn and went out into the Mount.
1829 The Church were asked if they were willing to lend their chapel to the Methodists, "For the purpose of having a Sunday School Charity Sermon preached in it by Mifs Wilson, should they ask for it." The Baptists consented to this request.
Dec. 3rd. 1837. Agreed at this time to have preaching in the afternoon once a month at Elslack.
Few people can at the present time realise the amount of self-denial these early disciples had to endure in erecting their first chapel, but we find from the records that the building was filled by attentive and reverent listeners. Everyone had a special work and position in the Church, in particular lay preachers and Sunday School teachers. For the indifferent, Church life provided, at the lowest level, friendship, a club, entertainment, and something constructive to do. Because of the piety demanded the churches clothed those associated with them in respectability. The population of the parish at this time was 1829.
The members of the Church had great cause for concern on 4th. August 1833 when the pastor announced that he had received an invitation from the Church at Slack Lane to go and settle with them as pastor, “.... on which account the Church showed much concern, grief and trouble, and earnestly entreated him to stay,” To their great relief William Wilkinson was so persuaded.
This first pastor worthily lived, faithfully preached for twenty-seven years. Amid extreme poverty he held the pastorate through very difficult times, keeping the Church together and being rewarded by its steady growth. He was encouraged by the admissions and faithfulness of the majority, while sorrowing over the dismissal of certain members. People of all creeds in the village pointed to "Old Billy," as a saintly man, a great preacher, and a good minister. It will never be known how much he influenced the life of the village for good during his lifetime. "Old Billy" looked upon his students as the coming leaders of the next generation, and two or three local preachers helped him considerably. Most of their efforts were devoted to the members of the Church. If a boy had missed Sunday School or class for once he knew that enquiries would be made. If "Old Billy" did not happen to meet him in the village street, John o' Phyllis's did. It wasn't just a cold nod that the truant received, there was genuine concern for the lapse, and a conversation like this would ensue:



"Well Johnny, where we ta o'Sunda afternoon? Ah didn't si thi at class and tha missed a Latin class ah noticed last week, an ah felt so interested in thee that 'ave missed me sleep two or three neets thinking abaat thi. Tha knows if tha begins to go wrong na, it'll be all t'harder for thi farther on i' life, and we do want tha ta mak' a man o' thi seln, and it needs all t' preparation tha can get now to be what we want tha ta be in after life."
"Old Billy" died April 8th. 1845. He resigned from the pastorate probably in the last month of 1840 as he is last mentioned as pastor in November of that year and the Minutes for March 1841 are signed by two deacons on behalf of the Church.
"William Wilkinson late Baptist Minister of the Baptist Church Earby died on the 14th of March, 1846, aged 59. A good man and full of the Holy Ghost.”

Gone to the life beyond, Where sorrows are unknown, Where loving hearts to hearts respond, and worship near the throne.
No pain nor sickness there, No weariness of age, Gone every sigh and every care, Of this worlds pilgrimage

Another life begun, Where pleasures never cease, No shadows of a setting sun, But light, and joy, and peace.
Then shall we mourn the gone? Thy earthly travail o'er? Ah, no! the thought be ours alone, Not lost, but gone before.
George Ackroyd

When the new Baptist chapel was built in 1861 the old building was brought into use as a day school between that date and 1872, but its career was spasmodic. If the minister was not there, then there was just no school that day. It was also used, with benefit to the social and educational life of the community, until a new Mechanics Institute was built in 1878, on the site where the Public Library now stands.
The following is a long lost history of the building of the old chapel which was written in the Account Book for the new chapel by an unknown person. It is also undated but probably written about 1865.
In the year 1818 there was no chapel of any kind in the parish of Thornton. There were a number of persons connected with the Baptist Churches at Cowlinghill and Barnoldswick that were in the habit of meeting for prayers etc. in their respective houses. Owing to the distance of their several places of worship they felt it desirable that there should be a chapel at Earby. After a considerable amount of deliberation it was resolved to raise what is called a 'shell'. Where it should stand was determined by one of their number who proposed to give the site on which it now stands. The size was next to be determined. Length and breadth having been decided upon there was some dispute respecting the height. One party proposed 15ft., another 18ft, alleging that perhaps it might be necessary at a future time to erect a Gallery; this idea was laughed at as a thing unlikely. They began to build the shell in year 1818, opened on May 2, 1819, with a few forms, an old oak table and an old pulpit given by the Baptists at Colne Lane, Colne. Collections at the opening service amounted to £4.10s.l1/2d Subscriptions of 1/2d.,ld., and 2d. were given weekly towards meeting the expenses. In 18 months after the opening of the shell it was found necessary to erect a gallery, and floor and pew the bottom. The total amount of expense entailed was about £300, the whole of which was paid off in 1850. There was some talk of subsequent enlargement, but it was resolved to rest awhile.
Continued on page 27 (new chapel)

Towards the end of 1848 Mr. Richard Heaton became the second minister of the Church, being ordained in 1849. He commenced his ministerial duty with a devout enthusiasm, and proved a very popular leader. Sad to say, his term of office was a short one as he died in May 1853 at the age of 51. The Minute Book makes the following note: ' 'He was much beloved by his people on account of the service he rendered to the Church ...."
In 1854 a letter was sent to the Rev. J. M. Ryland of Bradford asking him to assume the pastorate. He was the first pastor who had had a collegiate training and had already visited the Earby chapel to preach to the congregation, and the letter began;
"As you have now for several weeks laboured amongst us to the edification of the
Church and the satisfaction of the congregation the desire has been exited in our breasts that you should take the oversight of us in the Lord "
In his reply of acceptance Mr. Ryland comments;
".... Should it appear desirable at some future period for me to change my condition in life by marriage, as this would necessitate a great expenditure of money on my part, I hope that an advance of salary will take place if practicable ...."
Mr. Ryland did indeed marry during his term of office, and tribute was made of his wife ".... think what a minister's wife ought to be, and she was that." The minister himself was a cultured Christian gentleman, with high ideals, sincerely devoted to the service of his Master. He had however a very delicate constitution, but his early efforts were crowned with success, and during his ministry he baptised 65 persons. In 1857 he tendered his resignation as pastor but in the following year he was asked to resume, which he did. In 1860 the Church was going through a particularly difficult period as the minutes refer to; "A deadnesss in the Church ..." and "Our state as a Christian Church is low, which greatly depresses the minds of the faithful"
Mr Ryland again resigned, writing:
"I have this day resigned the pastorate of the Baptist Church at Earby, no signs of life appearing, my soul has become much discouraged on several accounts ..."
He was however engaged for a further six months but unfortunately his health broke down and in August 1861 he was unable to preach. Before then, in Juiy, on a vote by ballot "The major part of the Church desired Mr. Ryland to discontinue his labours amongst them..." He had written in the Minute Book " It is a time of great trial! both to the minister and the people." The Minute Book again records that in 1863 the late Rev. Ryland moved to Colne and entered the Baptist Church there: "It is a time of severe affliction with the Baptist Church, Earby. Trade is very bad, they have no Pastor. Some cheering signs appear to prevent despair."
In 1863 the Church invited Rev. W. Osborne to be minister at a stipend of £60 a year. This was less than the previous minister had received, but Mr. Osborne in his letter of acceptance states;
"I have no complaint to make as regards your own liberality considering the depressed state of trade and your own reduced circumstances in consequence, and also the heavy debt with which as a Church you are burdened, it is perhaps as much as can reasonably be expected from you; but at the same time you must be aware that it is insufficient to support a minister ...."
Mr. Osborne's ministry was very short, only about two and a half years, and somehow there was not that cohesion between pastor and people that ensures success, the outcome being that he left in 1865.
The Church was now to be without a settled pastor for the following three years, until the Rev. Edward Morgan, Baptist of Crewe was invited with a salary of £80 a year ".... and as much more as we can get." One of the Church members offered to make this up to £90. This was in 1868 and in 1878 Mr. Morgan was allowed the following:
Free Will offerings, Pew rents, Quarterly collections, and Anniversary sermons.
in 1880 the pastor received only £65 and in December the minutes state: "'That we ascertain the mind of the Church by ballot whether Mr. Morgan has to stay as the pastor or not, and the result is that there is 5 for and 36 against him, and that the Church wish him to resign On condition that Mr. Morgan resigns, the Church will present him with £10 instead of his services."

In Nov. 1881 Mr. and Mrs. Morgan moved to Colne and entered the church there. During his stay in Earby Mr. Morgan was on very good terms with the adherants of the other churches, and often took part in public gatherings in association with the rector of the parish, the Rev. Canon Morris, the vicar of Kelbrook, the Rev. Owen Owen, and the neighbouring Weslyan ministers. During his ministry the congregations were well maintained, and many members were added to the Church. In 1879 there were 360 scholars enrolled in the Sunday School, with 40 teachers.
During this period Earby was hard hit by the burning down of the largest mill in the village, Victoria Mill, and many people were thrown out of employment. But all through this troubled time much good work was done, for there were a goodly number of leaders among the Church members who saw to the continuation of the Church during periods when there was no settled minister - "They had a mind to work."
From 1881 to 1893 the Church had been without a settled pastor, the pulpit being supplied by visiting ministers and laymen. There were no Missionary Sermons or Meetings in 1889 "On account of the depression of trade in the village." In 1889 25 shillings (£1.25) belonging to the Poor Fund was distributed by the Deacons to any really needful cases in the village, whether they were members of the Church or not. In 1890 it was recommended at the annual Church Meeting that the whole of the money collected at the Lord's Supper be devoted to the relief of the poor.
In 1889 Mr. Lowler of Lincoln had offered himself as pastor of the Church, but his offer was declined "As he is not a fit and proper person." In 1892 the Rev. Walter Wynn was invited to occupy the pulpit for three months. He was from Bradford and ' 'We give him the sum of thirty two pounds ten shillings." Thus began the most chequered career of any minister of the Earby Church (sea DISCORD AND STRIFE).
Shortly after the commencement of his pastorate in Feb. 1893 Mr. Wynn started the publication of a monthly magazine the "Onward March" which was distributed free to every house in the village. The magazine contained sermons by the pastor and accounts of the Church's activities, but also included reports of the other Free Churches in Earby, Kelbrook, Salterforth, and Barnoldswick. There were also articles by eminent writers and preachers, and reports of the Craven Association of Baptist Churches. Distributors were organised into areas for the delivery of the magazine and the following are examples of old names listed in the Minute Book:
Pork Street, Ireland Houses, Prospect Terrace, Mechanics, Richard Demain's Row, John Edmondson's Row, Smith's Buildings, Lomas Long Row, Lomas Front Row, Spout Houses, Anne Scott's Row, Alfred Dodgson's Houses, Dockyard, Claremont Terrace.
I wonder how many know the whereabouts of these now? In 1897 the magazine was completely free from debt "Over 30,000 of our pastor's sermons have been put into circulation during three years, and every volume has been sold."
In June 1893 the Baptist Church Committee arranged a cheap day trip to Ingleton. About 500 were booked by the Midland Railway Company and they were accompanied by Earby Brass Band, who gave their services on condition of receiving free tickets for the trip and tea. On arriving at Ingleton a public meeting was held in the open air under the presidency of Mr. William Wilkinson of Mill House. Mr. John Eastwood made a presentation to the Rev. Walter Wynn for his services to the Church during his past six months, this consisting of five volumes of theological literature. At the close of the day Mr. Wynn said "Praise God we have proved today that working men can enjoy themselves without getting drunk."
When entering upon the second winter of his residence in Earby, Mr. Wynn initiated a series of mens' meetings, which were held at 8p.m. on Sunday evenings in the Assembly Rooms of the Victoria Institute. These meetings, which were held in the winter months, had a successful run for a few years, and were supported and attended by many who were not associated with the Baptist Church. The services of various people were requisitioned for addressing the meetings but the mainstay of the meeting was Mr. Wynn himself.

In 1894 an invitation was sent to Mr. Wynn to become pastor of the Baptist church in Praed Street, London, but this was refused by the unanimous request of the Earby church. However in Feb. of 1895 Mr. Wynn sent in a letter of resignation, and a proposal was put forward by the members that a deputation be sent to London to see Dr. Clifford, but it was eventually agreed that the secretary should write to Dr. Clifford and the members of Praed Street stating the Earby church's opposition to Mr. Wynns removal, after which no more is recorded of the subject.
In 1904 Rev. Walter Wynn was invited to become pastor of Broadway church, Chesham, which had 388 members. An illuminated address and a Purse of Gold were presented to Mr. Wynn for his services and he was asked to preach the Harvest Thanksgiving Services the following year. The Earby deacons received Mr. Wynn's resignation with regret and tried by telegrams with Chesham to get them to withdraw their invitation, but this they declined to do. At his last service Mr. Wynn was so moved by emotion that he asked that a letter be read from the pulpit by the Rev. Simon Hirst of Burnley;
"To the members of the church and congregation worshipping at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Earby.
You will think it strange that I should resist the pressing invitation of
the deacons to preach a last sermon to you. But one knows his own feelings best, and to be perfectly frank with you all, I could not say "Farewell" to you. It would be too much for me. You have been so kind and good ...."
In Feb. 1917 his son, Rupert Wynn, was killed in action and he became interested in Spiritualism. Later on he published a book dealing with Spiritualism, and of his efforts to "contact" his deceased son.
The Rev. Richard Tallontire took office in 1905. One of his first aims was to restore the unity of the Church, and within a few months the older members were welcomed back. The outstanding feature of Mr. Tallontire's ministry was the inauguration of the "Earby Brotherhood," and the membership of the church steadily increased under his vigorous leadership. In 1909 Mr. Tallontire sent in a letter of resignation, to which the Church sent the following reply;
"In reply to yours of the 27th. which contains your resignation. We the members and officers of the Church wish to express and place on record our great sorrow at parting with you. Because of your faithful preaching of the Doctrines of the Gospel and the upholding of the Ideal Christian life. We would also express our appreciation of your constant and unwearied labours and care for the flock over which you have presided.
The more so that it has been under most difficult and delicate circumstances. We beg to assure you that our prayers and best wishes will follow you into your new sphere, and that the Master will be with you in your labours, and grant you success in the conversion of sinners and the building up of a Spiritual Church."
Mr. Tallontire was presented with a study chair on his leaving Earby in August 1909, and the deacons then recommended that the new pastor was to offered £130, with free use of the Manse. A time limit of four years for the pastorate was adopted, with a two-thirds majority required in favour of re-appointment of the minister.
The Rev. C. W. Townsend succeeded to the pastorate in 1910. He was a special favourite with the younger people and during his term of service the Sunday School adopted a grading system with a beginners and a primary department. A fund was also started for the provision of a new primary school (which was not to come into fruition until 1921 at a cost of £2,500). In October 1912 Mr. Townsend was invited to become pastor of Ebenezer Church, Burnley, and in his resignation letter he states that he had been offered at Earby perfect freedom in preaching, for which he was thankful;
"All this, to the best of my ability, you have given me at Mount Zion, and I shall always cherish happy memories of the first Church which ever really
gave me a free hand By far the great majority of Baptist Churches with
which I have come in touch regard me as a 'heretic' and their pulpits are closed
to me It is with feelings that verge on the sorrowful that I write this letter ..."

The deacons in their reply asked Mr. Townsend to reconsider the matter and stay with Mount Zion, but in May 1913 he removed to Burnley, later on to become minister of Cross Street Chapel, Manchester, one of the most influential places of worship in the city.
Early in 1914 the Rev. Edward Milner of London was voted to be appointed the new pastor, but this he declined, and it was not until the following year that the Rev. W. A. Livingstone took up the charge. Rev. Livingstone had asked for information about the pastorate and the following letter was sent from the Church:
"We have a membership of about 250, there are about 150 active members .... We have had many Church meetings in reference to the appointment of a Pastor, and members seem to have grown weary of these repeated meetings ...."
These were difficult years due to the war and also to his wife's continual illness, which eventually compelled him to resign in 1917. The Rev. J. W. Derwent became minister in 1918, but he had to resign on account of ill health, his letter of resignation states:
... For several months my health has been in a precarious state, and after securing the best medical advice, and waiting patiently in the vain hope of discovering signs of permanent recovery ...."
The Rev. J. W. Townsend commenced his pastorate in 1921, this being his first Church, having served in the forces during the war. The young minister was found acceptable to all, and during his Earby ministry he laid the foundations of what promised to be a distinguished career, moving to the Central Baptist Church at Hull in 1925. The stipend was at this time £300 a year with the minister finding his own house. In 1926 a house at No. 15 School Lane was bought, and the Rev. Joseph Tinker became pastor and the members were obviously well satisfied with him as in 1929 the deacons adopted a resolution:
''That in view of the faithful service of our minister, so evident in the spiritual atmosphere of the Church, in its enterprise and financial condition, and the happy relationship that exists between our minister and ourselves, we the Diaconate unanimously recommend to you that he be invited to continue his pastorate without a time limit"
In 1931 the pastor, owing to the bad state of trade in the district offered to refund to the Church £30 of his stipend - this was gratefully acknowledged by the members. In 1938 he accepted the pastorate of the Church at Clayton, Bradford, which the deacons agreed to with deep regret, expressing their best wishes in their new sphere to Mr. and Mrs. Tinker
In 1939 the Rev. Frank W. Trout of Newcastle was invited to become pastor, resigning the post in 1943, when a cheque was presented in appreciation of the services of himself and Mrs. Trout. In April 1944 the Rev. George Metcalfe B.A.B.D. was elected pastor, and in 1953 was concerned at the lack of interest shown by the men of the Church: "This was serious and threw great burdens on the few who did take active part in the affairs of Church life." He resigned in 1953 to become Director of Visual Training with the Baptist Missionary Society.

Rev. William Wilkinson 1819-1849 ? Rev. J.W.Derwent 1918-1920
“ Richard Heaton 1849-1853 “ J.W.Townsend 1921-1926
“ J.M.Ryland 1854-1862 “ Joseph Tinker 1926-1938
“ W.Osborne 1863-1865 “ Frank W.Trout 1939-1943
“ Edward Morgan 1869-1881 “ George Metcalfe 1944-1953
“ Walter Wynn 1893-1905 “ D.I.Morgan 1954-1965
“ R.Tallontire 1905-1909 “ Peter Wightman 1966-1971
“ C.W.Townsend 1910-1912 “ G.Williams 1972-
“ W. A. Livingstone 1915-1917
In 1859 a night school was formed in connection with the Sunday school, and the minister, Rev. J. M. Ryland was appointed as headmaster. John Singleton, together with J. Williamson were to act as teachers of arithmetic, and only writing and arithmetic were to be taught. The school was opened on the first Monday in 1859 and scholars paid the sum of one halfpenny (1/4p) per week. The Sunday School itself had a library and books were lent out at a small charge. A school rule was that "Each teacher uses his or her discretion with respect to spelling lessons."
This night school must have been discontinued as in 1864 it is noted:
"That we have a night school, teachers and senior scholars in the minister's vestry, at a penny per night, and that Mr. Ryland be asked to teach the above class (sic). That the other scholars be taught in the other vestry, that they pay 1/2p per night, and that John Singleton be asked to teach them. That it be only once a week - on Monday night.
Sunday Schools had of course been held from the early days, in 1862 the membership is given as 137 scholars and 38 teachers. They had their problems however as an account reads "Great grief has been caused by the loose conduct of several young people."
Sunday Schools were promoted by Robert Raikes of Gloucester in the 1780's. The state of the children, and the way in which they were suffered to wander about the streets on a Sunday, greatly distressed him. He hired a room and children induced to attend this first Sunday School, being instructed by women engaged for the purpose.
They represented a new dimension in schooling for the poor in providing the rudiments of reading, religious instruction, moral education and in some instances writing. (The emphasis was mainly on bible reading, and the teaching of writing was often opposed).
"There is a mutual dependance between bible societies and Sunday schools; if poor children are provided with bibles by the former, they must be taught to read them in
the latter "
J. Stringer - A sermon preached at the Methodist Chapel, Wetherby.
By 1875 the debt had been cleared on the new chapel, and the Church proceeded to prepare for the erection of a Sunday School building, which was greatly needed. The foundation stone was laid July 12th. 1875, the special trowel for the occasion being obtained from Bradford, while James Brown made the mallet. The following papers and documents were placed in a bottle and put under the stone:
A portrait of the Uncen. A photograph of C. H. Spurgeon and his sermon, printed in gold. Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet on the Vatican. Mr. Bright's speech on the Burial's Bill. Messrs. Moody and Sankey's hymn book and their portraits. A photograph of the pastor, deacons and superintendants. The Baptist, the Circular Letter. The Baptist Messenger. Mac Laren's gospel of the day. The Christian Age and the portrait of Dr. Talmage. The Christian World. The British Workman and the Advocate. The Independant Paper. The Methodsit, and Gospel Magazine. The Manchester Examiner and Times. The Craven Pioneer, and a copy drawn of the inscription on the trowel. Coins, four of the smallest in silver and three of the smallest in copper.
See bottom of page 27
The school cost about £900 and was opened on September 10th. 1876, with 40 large and 400 small posters being printed to advertise the opening ceremony. Up till then the chapel bottom had been used for a Sunday School, loose forms had been used, with a heating stove in the middle of each aisle, but on the opening of the new Sunday School behind the chapel, this area was now 'pewed.' In 1879 there were 360 scholars enrolled in the Sunday School, with 40 teachers.
A "Band of Hope" was formed in 1871. This was attached to the Sunday School and was not merely a temperance organisation, for they organised their own musical entertainments, and held discussion meetings.
Christian friends. The conductors of this sabbath Sunday School deem it proper that the parents and guardians of the scholars, and the friends of the school should be made acquainted with the state of it, therefore they have concluded for the committee to draw up as full and correct a report as it is possible for them to do, and we hope that such a proceedure will meet with your approval and be a means of pointing out to you the necessity of parents using their influence with the children to further the objects of the school.
The committee thank you for your kind attendance this evening and are always glad to meet with you, but especially on these festive occasions, as it shows plainly that you do sympathise with the teachers and other officers in this important of the
Lord's (?) and we can assure you we have much need of your prayers to that God
"from whom all blessings flow," that his holy spirit may be poured out upon us so that we may be enabled to bear and forbear and to show unto these dear children committed to our care that we do love them as Christ does love us, and that we have their interests at heart not only for this world but especially in the world to come. And we consider that Sunday Schools now are not intended to answer the purpose for which they were first instituted (simply to teach those children to read who could not on account of the scarcity as well as the expensiveness of day schools have the advantage of instruction), but as those difficulties have been removed and a good English education is placed within the reach of everyone, their main object is to teach those who attend them the way which leadeth to life everlasting by not only teaching them to read their bibles but pointing them to the precious truths contained therein, and above all pointing them to Christ and Him crucified as the only way by which they can come to God, for He is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is no other name under heaven given among men by which they can be saved.
Since last year many changes have we seen, faces which were once familiar to us and who regularly took their seats with us both as teachers and scholars are now no more, yet we know not as those who have no hope for we trust many if not all are now sitting at the right hand of God. Others also have been removed from us by the providence of God to other parts where we trust they will still labour in the cause of Christ. We have also had changes of other kinds in regard to our school discipline, for at our last general Teachers meeting we agreed to substitute two superintendents instead of four as we have had before and we trust ere long to see that this has been a beneficial change, but here we feel most particularly the want of parental influence for we must beg of you to assist us in our labours as you have far more influence over the children than it is possible for us to gain with only two hours we spend in a week with them. We do not wish to use physical force, but to prove to them that as Christ's Kingdom is a Kingdom of love and we teach His gospel. We also act up to what we teach by being loving and kind. Yet we cannot but complain of the very bad attendance of late of many of the scholars, for although we have upon our books 84 boys and 84 girls, in all 172, yet we only average an attendance of 119 during school hours, but fall very far short of this during the hours of divine service in consequence of many of the scholars going home, or we fear what is worse absenting themselves without the knowledge of their parents, for we cannot bring ourselves to think that parents would encourage children who come to school to absent themselves from the service, for though the school itself has loosed we do not consider that the children are at liberty to go away, as it is one of our rules that they are not to go away from chapel until after the service without the consent of the superintendents, and that being granted at the request of the parents or guardians of the children, but we will endeavour by more vigilance on our part as far as possible to alter this state of things and we have no doubt if parents will use their endeavors to assist us in this point that the evil will be removed entirely.
Children out of chapel playing in the streets "as far as Grelpit" were a constant annoyance to the Sunday School superintendents.
Sunday School Report continued
During the last few sabbaths we are sorry to have to state also that the attendance of the teachers has not been as regular as we could wish, but we trust seeing we have now a very large number of scholars upon our books that our friends will kindly volunteer their services in this wide field of labour, and do all in their power to assist the conductors of the school by their kind attendance. While we have to mourn and lament over these drawbacks we have also much cause for thankfullness and heartfelt gratitude to God for His loving kindness and tender mercy towards us in drawing many of our teachers to Him and causing them to come out and publickly confess themselves on his side by baptism and we are also thankful to see such a spirit of inquiry manifested in so many of the scholars, for there are now 13 upon the Church books as enquirers, and are confident that the Lord will perfect that good work which we trust he has begun in their hearts, and we feel this to be one more reason why our monthly prayer meetings should be carried on with greater earnestness and also that we should not be content with only our monthly prayers but that private prayer should be offered up on their behalf and also on our own, that God would give unto us a double portion of His Holy spirit to enable us to guard these youthful buds of promise from every danger, and like skillful husbandmen train them in the right way, and preserve them from every hurtful way of their own. Therefore we beg for your united prayers that God's blessing may rest upon us and our work of faith and labour of love, and by these means we hope that in our next yearly report we shall have the pleasure of announcing to you that we have out of our ranks added a goodly number of young recruits to the noble army of Christ, who are ready and willing to fight under Him whose banner is love and who has said "suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Building the new school required a great deal of money, and so in 1877 the Church decided to sell the old chapel and adjoining burial ground (part of the old chapel yard had already been given to Mr. Crowther in 1868, on condition that any money offered for it should go towards the building of a new school).
Although a large majority were in favour of this step, a minority were strongly opposed to selling the dear old place, with its burial ground where rested the bones of those who had commenced and carried on the work for forty years.
Who loves not the house where they worshipped their God ?
Who loves not the spot where their ashes repose ? Dear is the daisy that blooms on the sod.
For dear is the dust out of which it arose.
Storey, the Yorkshire poet
However, sentiment had to be put on one side, and the meeting house and ground were sold for £300, thus providing a substantial part of the cost. James Bailey and Thomas Windle were appointed to see about removing the gravestones from the old to the new chapel yard, and Mr. Wilkinson of Guiseley was given permission to put a tablet in the new school to the memory of William Wilkinson, the first pastor of the church.
The money required to wipe out the remaining debt was obtained by subscription, opening services, and a bazaar, which was held in 1884. The bazaar itself raised £350 and it wiped off the debt incurred in decorating the chapel and school, and in pewing the bottom of the chapel.
Bazaars were the modern counterpart of the old "Church Ales" which were held at Whitsuntide. Previous to this festival the churchwardens brewed a large quantity of ale which was sold on the holiday, and the profits applied to the repair of the church. The word comes from the Persian 'bazar,' meaning a sale, or market.

In 1893 a committee appointed by the ratepayers sent the following questions with reference to the letting of the schoolroom in which to hold a Public Elementary School:
/. Will you conduct a school on your own responsibility ? 2. Will you allow your schoolroom to be used for this purpose by a representative committee elected by the ratepayers ?
The reason for these questions was that the only two existing schools in the village had become quite inadequate. These were the old Grammar School and the Weslyans. The latter had accommodation for 198 pupils but at this time there were 285 on the books. The answer the Church gave to the first question was no. To the second they replied:
" That as a Baptist Church we agree to let our schoolroom for the use of an infant schoolroom, under the entire management of a committee to be elected by the ratepayers, at a fixed rental." The Church agreed to pay for any alterations that would be a permanent advantage, the outlay in the first instance being borne by the ratepayers.
The ratepayers committee had second thoughts and a decision was made to erect a 'Board School,' the erection of the Albion Shed had been responsible for a large increase in population, with families moving into Earby to obtain employment. Mr. Wynn was elected as one of the members of the School Board. A syllabus of religious instruction had to be drawn up, and despite differences of opinion the syllabus drawn up by the Rev. L. B. Morris, rector of Thornton Church was adopted. At a Iater election of the Board there was some confusion as to who was to elected chairman and Mr. Wynn spoke his own views on this, which caused Mr. George Hartley to remark sarcastically that he had been 'spouting.' There was disruption until Mr. Hartley reluctantly agreed to withdraw the offending remark. He did however substitute for it the word 'spout' instead!! Eventually the Rev. Morris was re-elected chairman and Mr. Wynn then invited the members of the Board to dinner at the Manse, where after dinner speeches were made. (The Board School was erected in New Road in 1898).
In 1895 two teachers were accused of interfering with the management of the school and were asked to resign from their posts. The teachers in a body were incensed at the behaviour of the members of the Church towards the running of the school and themselves threatened to resign from their posts "NOW unless the Church can give them the promise that they will not now or afterwards interfere with the management of the school....." At a Church meeting to discuss this the pastor was instructed to re-organise the school and accept the resignations (see Discord and Strife chapter).
In 1897 the Sunday School was stated to be in a most satisfactory condition, having an adult bible class on Sunday afternoons. “The pastor conducts on Thursday nights, a teachers preparation class, and the teachers attend it in large numbers." In 1911 the need for enlarged premises was keenly felt, the population of the parish was now more than three times the number in 1821, and steps were taken to raise money for a new school. A fund was inaugurated by the pastor, C. W. Townsend (who removed to Burnley in 1913), by which time £700 had been raised, with £100 donated "by a kind friend." This fund rose gradually to £1,000 in 1916. That year saw the formation of a Beginners and Primary department, and work was carried on under trying conditions owing to the war. The new school was having to wait but money was assiduously gathered, chiefly at Anniversaries. In 1920 the collections were a record £319. Early in 1921 it was decided to build the school in stages, and on July 1st. 1921 stones were laid for the first time. January 27th. 1923 saw the opening of the new extension by Mrs. J. H. Barker, and the cost of building was £2,500, the fruition of a long continued effort.

The school gallery and classrooms were removed from the older building and a vestibule and cloakroom were then made, while during the building of the new school the gravestones in the chapel yard were temporarily removed Tenders had been put out for the building, and in general the lowest were accepted. There were wide variations in some of the tenders, for masonry the lowest was for £550, while the highest was for £1,046. Painting was quoted from £54 to £142 - both highest tenders came from Earby firms.
It was in 1923 that the senior department was reported to be in a serious position owing to the shortage of teachers. In 1940 notification was received from the military authorities requisitioning the old schoolroom, and in 1941 the West Riding County Council asked for the use of the new school for the use of persons rendered homeless by bombing. This was agreed to, with the Church willing to give free light and heat within reason.
**** * * * **

In the first world war the deacons formed a Belgian Relief Committee in 1914, with a view to providing a home for one or more families of the Belgian refugees, and a house was rented in Earby for that purpose. An appeal was made from the pulpit for gifts of household furnishings or money. The ladies of the Church were to clean the house, put everything in its place, and provide a meal for the arrival of the refugees, and also to provide sufficient eatables for a few days. An Earby Relief Committee had also been formed for the same purpose, and they suggested a joint effort with the Baptist committee, who replied that they deferred any decision until some further families arrived.
In August of 1915 a Belgian family had been in the care of the Church, and an attempt was made at this time to get them back to London, but in the meantime they were to continue to get a grant of ten shillings (50p) a week, in addition to rent, gas and coal. By November the Belgians had evidently moved away, as all persons having lent furniture were at this time asked to fetch it away, all goods not claimed were to be sold by auction.
During the second world war a collection was made early on of clothing for the distressed in London, and it was decided that this should be given to the evacuees who had arrived in Earby from that city. Social evenings were also organised for the soldiers who were by now billeted in Earby, refreshments and cigarettes to be free. The Church secretary arranged for rations of sugar, butter and tea to be obtained from the Food Controller, soloists were approached for their services, and community singing played a prominent part in all the proceedings. See last paragraph of Baptist Schools, above.
Practically all iron railings were pulled down and taken away for scrap during the war, this happened to most of the garden walls in the village. In 1942 the Church appealed against the removal of their railings on the grounds that life would be endangered due to the large drop on to the pavement if anyone were to fall over. This appeal was granted, but later on, in 1944 the authorities asked the Church if they would be willing for their removal. This was not agreed to ".... as it would make the premises a public thoroughfare, and a ground for children to play in."

“OLD PEGGY.” - an old Earby character


Margaret Whitaker was one of those who was dismissed from Barnoldswick and took part in the formation of the Earby Church in 1819. Her interest in the Baptist cause was paramount in her life; a woman who endured privations, so that she might contribute to the cause. She was a teacher in the Sunday School for sixty years, and seemed to be regardless of her attire, because the theme of her life was uppermost in her thoughts. Dressed in a bonnet and dress, which were very old-fashioned she regularly attended the services as long as she was able to undertake the journey, although it meant a trudge over difficult roads from the alms houses at Thornton, where she eventually resided. On one occasion she came, having forgotten to put on her bonnet, something quite unthinkable in those days, and when her attention was drawn to the fact as she neared Earby she said "I am a King's daughter, and I have no need of the adornings of this world." Many a time when she met a group of girls she would say they should pay more attention to their chaste conversation, and their adorning should not be of plaited hair and the wearing of gold, or of putting on of beautiful apparel.
Illustration from 'PUNCH'
But what a pattern of devotion she was Her bible was not only her constant companion, but she committed to memory her favourite portions, and could recite Paul's 'Epistle to the Ephesians without a break.
Many interesting stories might be told of how she button-holed the ministers when they descended from the pulpit after the service. On one occasion she told a student who had been ambitous to make an impression, of the modern way he was treating his subject. She put her hand on his shoulder, warning him that they were not wanting to hear anything about Tennyson or Shakespeare, or Byron, but they wanted to hear the message from "The Word'' - the Word of God was sufficient store of truth for the people of Earby. Emphasising what she was speaking about, she struck the ground with her stick so often and with such force that the poor student was quite anxious about his feet, for if that stick had gone through one of his corns it would have been more than a memory in his future ministry.
It was while living in Thornton that Old Peggy became very friendly with the widow of a clergyman, who came to live in the village for a short time. Mrs. Clementson was from Coventry, and she was so charmed with Old Peggy's personality that that on learning of an outstanding debt of the Baptists on their new chapel, she gave sufficient to clear off the whole amount. This generous gift was entirely due to Old Peggy's influence, and we find in the Manchester Examiner of August 31st. 1869:
Mrs. Clementson, of Coventry, on the 26th. inst. gave £160 to the treasurer of the Baptist Church, Earby-in-Craven, Yorkshire towards liquidating the debt on the building. The donor is the widow of a clergyman of the Established Church.
From an article by J. Wilson Green in the "Pioneer" April 11th. 1919.

The reasons given for absence from chapel sometimes provide interesting or amusing reading. Attendance at all Church services was enforced, Sabbatarianism was strict, with some people even Saturday evening was regarded as an integral part of the following day and devoted to meditative preparation. Sabbatarianism did however separate the mass of the people from the Church. With Sunday the only time for relaxation for so many, most working class organisations functioned on their solitary free day. To Baptists this was both a desecration of the Sabbath and a distraction from Church worship and work. In 1884 it was proposed that '"Alice Greenwood forms a committee for inviting people to come to Chapel who don't attend no place of worship."
The Minute Books record the names of those absent for many years, but then the practice is discontinued, which would no doubt be quite a relief to some Church members!
1819 Hartley Windle absent in consequence of being called to preach at Horton. He became a prominent lay preacher and was often given as absent for this purpose.
1826 Nancy Dobson absent on account of some of the members having spoken
disrespectfully of her. Later on ... absent because she was hindered by her husband.
John Watson absent in consequence of being detained as teacher at Kelbrook school. Later .... absent unnecessarily.
1827 Harriet Edmondson absent through the wetness of the day.
1828 George Smith absent through mistake.
Ellen Hodgson absented herself at this time wilfully and without cause.
1831 E.S. absent for causes unknown, and it is feared unjustifiable.
1837 Mary Harrison absent because she had quarrelled with her husband.
1838 James Watson and his wife absent because they had flit.
1837 Betty Turner is listed many times as "sick." A subscription was made in this
year ".... for the relief of Betty Turner which amounted to about ten shillings.
This sum was much needed and most gratefully received by our sick and much
afflicted sister." She died in the same year - "She had been many years uncommonly afflicted with the chronic rheumatism." The minutes recite;
Slowly her mortal frame decayed,
Her end was long in sight. Nor was her steady soul afraid
To take its awful flight.
1838 A fresh election of deacons took place as two of them, Hartley Windle and
James Whittaker had quarrelled. In the absent column are listed James Whittaker,
Henry Bailey, James Hartley, Nancy Slater, and Ann Cook, absent owing to
quarrelling. Later on other absences are noted as being cased by: Offended at
choice of deacon and offended at being despised,
1839 James Roberts - carelessness. In the following two months - wilful neglect,
and, lukewarm.
Hannah Whitaker - unfriendly. Later on - III nature.
In 1819 Phillis Wilkinson and Margaret Wilkinson absent in consequence of being called to an accouchment (childbirth).
Causes of absence in one month alone, that of December 1839 are:
James Roberts Lukewarm Sarah Parkinson Unknown
Olive Hartley Affront Ellen Wilkinson Blind
Jane Roberts Confinement Hannah Whitaker Unfriendly
The early part of the 19th century was a time of great distress in Earby, many were classed as paupers and were receiving poor relief. In 1829 "Thompson Riddihough absented himself at this time because he had nothing to give towards the expense of the Ordinance." William Hartley is also listed frequently as absent through debt. James Whitaker and James Roberts were also "Absent through poverty." This was the situation throughout the district, as one report tells us 'The people were ashamed to go to Church in rags."
The Baptists in Barnoldswick drew up rules of conduct in the year 1702 which would apply also to those who attended that Church from Earby. The pioneers of this Church at Barnoldswick were not men to trifle with religion, it was a mighty reality to them, 'they carried it into common life and suffused their daily actions with its holy principles.' The Church exercised keen scrutiny over the life of its members, it claimed the right to deal not only with the Church life of its communicants, but also with their business transactions. Social relationships, domestic duties, and general conduct, pride, envy, dishonesty, gossip, dress, manners, and courtship, were deemed matters of Church government. The punishment varied according to the sin committed from a gentle reproof to excommunication, but this was never resorted to except in extreme cases. The rules they adopted in that year of 1702 were:
1. We do agree not to boast of or at all commend ourselves especially in religious
matters it being a motive to pride and odious in itself.
2. Not to backbite or secretly undermine or defame another.
3. Not to make mention of any evil or scandelous reports, if we hear it concerning
any brother, till we have first consulted and descoursed ye brother about it.
4. To avoid all superflous dresses, all antick gestures, all light and frothy descourses
which may stir up pride or corruption in us, or wound the consciences of others.
5. That we apply ouselves with all diligence to ye exercise of humility, sobrietry and
gravity, and to lop off every branche of indecency and vanity.
6. That in every family or company where providence casts any of us especialy
minysters we will there promote and carry on Religious and profitable discourses
and exercises, and if we do not see it always fitt, to reprove, yet never to count
enance ye contrary.

7. That those persons shall be most esteemed by us, and reconed most honourable
amongst us yt lay out themselves most for Christ and ye good of souls, and are
most examplary for humility and piety, however otherwise Infereriour in naturall
and acquired pts.
8. That we will be carefulI to abound in all gospell subjection and due obedience to
our naturall parents etc., as also to those yt are over us in the Lord whilst under
their care and cognizance.
9. That those of us yt have familys shall take care to instruct and rule well in our
own houses.
10. That the unmarried shall not frequent ye company of any woman without acqua
inting and consulting their brethren more or fewer as occasion requires.
11. That neither married nor unmarried shall goe along or keep company with any
woman in any immodest or suspicious way wtever.

12. That in all families ye master or some one for him, shall maintain and keep up
dayly prayer or till yt can be brought about, at least wise to read one chapter or
more every day, the family being solemnly called together to yt end.
13. That none of us shall frequent alle houses nor fit most to spend above sixpence
at once except upon speciall occasion.
14. That none of us shall be detected, or proceeded against out of envye, suspicion,
or in any indirect undermineing way, but in a fair, free, open brotherly unbiast
way without fear, favour or revenge.
Lastly. We agree yt additions may be made to these conclusions as hereafter shall be thought fitt.
And provided yt any of us shall be found faulty in the premises, they shall be resented uncapable of having any place or voate in our Association meetings, till they confess
their fault and promise amendment.
Agreed by us
William Mitchell, Richard Higgin, David Crosley, John Barrett, Adam Holden Daniel Slater, Lawrence Lord. George Hargreaves James Howarth, John Hargreaves, Timothy Robinson, John Hartley, Richard Houlden.
DISCORD AND STRIFE - Doctrines believed in by the Baptist Church in Earby
The churches offered a purposeful way of life, but the highest moral codes were demanded and attendance at church services were compulsory. The following "Doctrines believed in by the Baptist Church in Earby" are from the Minute Book for 1821.
A Church of Christ is not a litteral house of any kind; nor is it a place of
worship belonging to any denomination of professing Christians, either papist,
or protestant, the establishment, or dissenters. Gill, or Thornton, or any other
parish church, is no more a church of Christ than a barn, stable, farmhouse,
or cottage. A Church of Christ is a number of faithful men or women, voluntarily united together as a society; in order that they may meet together in one
place, have the gospel preached, and its ordinances regularly administered to
them, and thus hold communion with one another, and with that God and
Saviour in whom they believe, whom they worship .... The officers of a Church,
properly organised are Pastors and Deacons. The Pastor is to read and study the
sacred scriptures, with diligence, impartiality, and fervent prayer for divine
illumination - to preach the word - to administer the ordinances of the gospel,
viz. baptism and the Lord's Supper: to be instant in season and out of season -
to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine - to feed the
church of Christ over which the Holy Ghost has made him an overseer. A Pastor
or Minister ought moreover to be sound in the faith, and of unblemished character.
He must be the husband of one wife, vigilent, sober, of good behaviour given to
hospitality, apt to teach; not given to much wine, no striker, not greedy of
filthy lucre; be patient, not a brawler nor covetous; one that ruleth well his own
house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; for if he know not how
to rule his own house how can he take care of the church of God. Not a novice
lest he fall into condemnation and the snare of the devil.... (The deacon was to
be of similar good character) .... Even so must their wives be grave not slanderers,
sober, faithful in all things. Let the Deacons be the husbands of one wife ruling
their houses and their own children well
A church in order to preserve its purity and honour, is required to separate from its communion certain persons whose characters the scriptures point out; such as fornication, covetous persons, idolaters, railers, drunkards, extortioners, and hereticks, and all such as absolutely deny any essential article of the Christian faith .... When a person will not be reclaimed (to the church) it is the duty of the Pastor in the behalf and presence of the whole church solemnly to declare in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that such a one, proved guilty of such a crime is no longer a member of the church, but is to be considered as one of the world, as belonging to Satan's kingdom till he repent.... a person thus excluded from church fellowship is however still entitled to the common offices of humanity and civil friendship .... and to do all in our power to reclaim him from the error of his way .... (then) to cheerfully re-admit him ...."
We whose names are hereunto subscribed do agree to walk according to the above rules .... Witnefs our hand this 10th day of August 1821.
Then are appended 56 signatures, 24 of whom signed by their mark.
Deacons were mostly men of substance, although poor men could also attain to that office by dint of their piety, and they formed the governing court of the church.
1821 Nancy Turner excluded for fornication.
1824 Caleb Wilkinson and Margaret Wilkinson absent in consequence of having been suspended for the breach of the law of marriage. Caleb was later ' 'Excluded for having had connection with Margaret Wilkinson, before he married her." Thirteen years later he was restored to the Church after he had '' .... made a confession of his sin as a crime committed against God for which he felt sorry ...." This did not satisfy some members and heated arguments took place on his appearance before them, but eventually the matter was settled.
1828 George Smith was added to the Church. He had been baptised about 60 years before by the Pastor of Barnoldswick but later on '' .... became immoral in his conduct and was excluded." After some years he reformed and attended the parish church at Thornton. In his old age he came to live in Earby and became a regular hearer at our place for two or three years..."
In 1830 William Starkie was added to the Church by letter. He had formerly been a member of the church at Barnoldswick from which he voluntarily departed himself on account of various disturbances and quarrels, and also on account of the opposition he met with from some of the members with respect to his preaching. We believed that he had been unjustly treated, and that therefore he was justifiable in leaving the Church at Barnoldswick, and so we are unanimous in receiving him into union with us. He rejoined the Barnoldswick Church in 1833
1832 Abraham Burroughs excluded for immoral conduct. He was an unmarried man -.... drawn aside with bad company, got into the habit of drinking and following other bad practices, and so "turned like the dog to his vomit and like the sow that was washed to be wallowing in the mire." After warnings, reproofs and temporary suspension it was found necessary to exclude him .... May the good Lord renew him again to repentance and recover him out of the snare of the devil, by whom he has been taken captive.
1834 Harriet Edmondson was a Church member living in Kelbrook and applied to John Spooner, the Pastor of Barnoldswick to join that Church, as she was disatisfied with and unedified by the ministry of the Earby Pastor. William Wilkinson wrote a letter of dismissal from Earby to Barnoldswick - " ... We know not that we have given her any just cause for treating us with that disdain which she has long manifested This happened in reverse in 1836 when James Brooksbank, a deacon of the Barnoldswick Church became dissatisfied with Mr. Spooner and joined the Earby Church.
1840 Hannah Whitaker excluded for her wilful neglect of attendance at the Lord's table and for indulging in an uncharitable and ill-natured spirit towards both her neighbours and the Church, for making use of false, spiteful, and abusive language.
1857 It was unanimously determined that William Tatler be excluded. Reports unfit for insertion having reached our ears seriously affecting his moral character ..."
1861 Joseph Windle, Esther Proctor, and Mary Lee, having acted in an unchaste
manner were, according to the law of the Church in reference to the sin of fornication,
1862 Great grief has been caused by the loose conduct of several young people ...
1893 That in deep sorrow and regret our brother .... be suspended from communion with the Church for six months, on account of being drunk. After being reinstated he was again suspended in 1896.
1893 On a confession of wrong doing our brother ... was restored to the fellowship of the Church
By far the most serious trouble took place however just after Mr. Wynn took over the pastorate He was noted for his outspokennes in the pulpit and out of it, he had very definate and fixed views and woe betide any youngster laughing or talking during a sermon. He would stop the sermon, point his finger at the offender and shout "You are going straight to hell on an express train,” or something in similar vein. In consequence there were occasions when head on collisions took place when opinions differed on church matters "Things were not always ideal, churches could be the very seats of discord and the arenas of the bitterest hate."
Changes were made at this time in the running of the Sunday School by many of the younger members. The manner in which some of the older Church leaders were treated caused much displeasure, and as many of the older members were seriously offended there were frequent abstentions from the monthly ordinace. The climax was reached when an intimation was sent to the absentees that if they continued to absent themselves from the ordinance they would be regarded as having ceased to be members of the Church, and this was regarded as amounting to excommunication.
The Sunday School teachers threatened by letter to resign from their posts "NOW unless the Church can give them the promise that they will not now or afterwards interfere with the management of the school. Agreed to by 14 out of a possible 17." At a meeting to discuss this the pastor was instructed to re-organise the school and accept the resignations. Following this drastic action, about sixty members with their families, withdrew from association with the Mount Zion Church until conditions were favourable for their return. In the meantime they maintained a connection with each other, and remained as members of the Baptist communion, but on the Sabbath Day they worshipped at the Weslyan Chapel, some of the leaders assisting in the conduct of divine worship at times and some worked in the Sunday School.
It was decided in March 1895 to build a minister's house or manse (in Rough Gap Lane), a bazaar was held on Good Friday to raise money towards this and the proceeds totalled £400. At a deacons meeting in September one Church member objected to a proposal by Mr. Wynn that he was prepared to give £100 towards the cost of the new house, remarking that the Church had a bad reputation with regard to its treatment of ministers. The pastor stated that he fully agreed with the latter statement, and the member went on to say that the Church would be indebted to Mr. Wynn if he was allowed to contribute towards house, and if Mr. Wynn left in about two years time they could do without a house altogether by getting a young man as pastor, who could take lodgings. Mr. Wynn expressed his great pain at these remarks and gave an account of the things that the member had opposed during his ministry.
This proposal against Mr. Wynn received no support from the deacons however and Mr. Wynn then complained of the cold, negative attitude and positive opposition which the member and others had shown to the work going on, and of the cold reception that new members had received. He gave it as his opinion that the member failed to sympathise with the proper conditions of a succesful Christian ministry, and that it was action such as his that wrecked Christian churches. All the deacons expressed their complete agreement with the pastor and were empowered to take whatever steps they deemed advisable to make the minister's house the sole property of the Church (a promise of Mr. Wynn towards the house is crossed out in the Minute Book).
A Deacons meeting was held a week later to try to effect an understanding between Mr. Wynn and five of the Church members, and the outcome of the meeting was that all should try once again to forget their differences. But the following day, at another deacons meeting, following a happy start: "Suddenly however, they took up the cold attitude they had previously assumed, and this without giving any reason." A fortnight later another deacons meeting was held, but with only nine members present, instead of fourteen as previously. Mr. Wynn announced his intention of discontinuing work at the Church until certain deacons gave their promise to loyally support his labours, or retire from the diaconate. He left the matter with the deacons present, who resolved the following:
That this Church accepts the resignation from the office of Deacon by Brethren mentioned, and assures them of its sincere gratitude for their past services, and hopes they will try in every way possible to them to help the work of the Church in a spirit of love and brotherhood, no other spirit being entertained towards them by this Church. The Church further prays that God's blessing will follow them all their days and that they may be spared with their families to reap the joys of Christian service in God's house at Earby.
Further deacons were then elected, and they gave their assurance to the pastor -" ... of their most hearty and loyal support as Pastor and Leader of the Church." In February of that year the secretary had been instructed to write to one of the members "Concerning his tale telling," and Mr. Wynn reminded the members that SILENCE as to Church business was virtue and necessity towards those not members. At a previous meeting a Bible class had been proposed, with Mr. Wynn as president and this had given offence to some members. These teachers claimed they had been ignored because there was a desire to cast them out of the school. This Mr. Wynn denied, and said there had been a misunderstanding, as a deputation had been formed to see them to discuss the matter, but had failed to see them. The brethren did not accept this explanation, and when one of them was asked to be co-teacher with Mr. Wynn he refused on the grounds that he had not been asked before. Mr. Wynn then stated that "Such opposition to his desire to be of service to them was beyond his comprehension, he failed completely to understand it, and left the matter with the Church." It was then proposed that the matter stand over until the end of the school year, when the Church could deal with the whole matter of school management.
Miss Ann Hartley proposed an amendment that the present teachers of the senior classes be asked to join Mr. Wynn in this new effort, and protested against the opposition raised. On the proposal and amendment being put to the vote, the resolution was carried by sixteen votes to fourteen.

In the Minutes is a copy of John 's paper (no further explanation is given).
1. A regular snubbing at the Deacons and Officers meeting.
2. The dirty chapel.
3. The elder brother.
Tuesday night
1. Not meant as a threat but not be allowed anymore.
2. Mr. if the present offer was not accepted, the olive branch
would be held out no more.
3. Mr. Wynn said that if such a thing should happen again he
would pitch 200 against 50 of us, and make short work of it
Tried to wring a promise.
4. Mr. Wynn claims to be inspired and told us on Tuesday night
that all that opposed him the earth would open up and swallow
5. Mr. Wynn told us he was not an office boy, but that he was the
leader, and the Church must follow.
6. Mr. Wynn said he noticed that we never once referred to supporting
the minister.
7. Mr. read personal accusations.
In 1896 a letter was sent to one of the former deacons (John Green):
D ear Brother,
We in Church meeting duly and legally assembled, do hereby
heartily invite you and .... Harrison and Thomas Bailey, Hartley and Joseph
Windle, Jas. Bailey, Percy Windle, Mary Windle, and .... Berry back into full
and loving fellowship with us. We invite also all others associated with you to
return with you on unconditional terms.... We are conscious that faults have
been committed by all concerned in this matter, and only love can bury them
Walter Wynn, Pastor.
No reply appears to have been received by the Church to this communication Mr. Wynn retired from the pastorate in 1904 and the Rev. Richard Tallontire took office the following year. One of his first aims was to restore the unity of the Church and within a few months the old members were welcomed back. But Mr. Tallontire also had his disagreements with the deacons, as in 1909 a common working agreement was sought Mr. Tallontire had sent in his resignation and the members all agreed that he had not had a proper chance to work up the church owing to the influence working against him.
1899 A member was charged with immoral behaviour and appeared before the pastor and Church members, but the member concerned eventually "... got his hat, and despite the protestations of said committee forced his way out of the vestry." He was then excluded from Church membership.

This extract comes from accounts written by Old Age Pensioners in Leeds.
Shrove Tuesday (pancake day) was the first holiday of the year. On Good Friday we ate home-made Hot-cross buns; ours always had a lump stuck on top instead of a cross and I was told this was the Hill of Calvary. On Easter Monday mother gave us hard boiled eggs of different colours, some had been boiled in coffee, others in onion water, and some in water where cochineal had been added. We rolled them down grassy slopes and the one who could roll their egg the longest before the shell was broken won the game. The first Sunday in May was Band of Hope Sunday, when we walked through the fresh green wood to a neighbouring hill-top for a short temperance service; the bluebells were only in palest bud, but a fortnight later we would have great delight in picking them. May Day with the lovely shining cart horses, harness gleaming, manes plaited and adorned with red and blue rosettes. Whitsuntide brought the Sunday School procession, Chapel on Monday, Church on Tuesday, with currant buns and oranges, and field sports after tea. Whit Monday was a great occasion, Monday morning being at the Sunday School.
As children we were expected to make our own pleasure, encouraged to go for walks on Sunday evenings; the day would be spent at Sunday School - even knitting or sewing was strictly taboo in most homes. Sunday in those days really was the Sabbath Day. Very few empty pews, people thought it their duty to worship in church or chapel, and give thanks for their blessings. I can remember going to church twice every Sunday and coming home in the evening, when we would gather round the piano for a good old singsong. Sometimes when funds would allow, we would have sandwiches and pickles. Life centred round the chapels. The big event was the anniversary, each chapel rivalling the others. We wore dresses and huge ribbon bows, and the boys wore Norfolk suits with celluloid collars. Poor mother, she had the patience of Job, and never once did I hear her complain; she never had enough money, but always kept us clean and tidy.
This was exactly as it was in Earby, here is an Earby person’s version:
The Sunday School Walking Day was on the Monday following the Earby 'Feast,' that is the day following Charity Sunday which was the Sunday nearest the 10th of July, the great day of the year. There was much rivalry between the Baptists and the Weslyans in the processions. Everybody turned out on that day, either to join in the procession, or to look on in the streets. The Baptist always had Earby Band while the Weslyans had to be satisfied with the band from Barlick or do without, and when the processions happened to meet in the streets, which often they did, each band blew their hardest and tried to 'drown' the other.
A special feature of these demonstrations was the singing. Practices were held before the event, and on the day every man, woman and child put their whole soul into the effort. Then tea parties were held at their respective schools. What crowded gatherings and reunions. Old friends talking of days long past, and living over again their interesting experiences. No words can do justice to the tea which was provided. Ham and beef sandwiches, every possible kind of sweetcakes in which the housewives of those days excelled, not ommitting warm sad-cakes, which were a reminder of the 'baum cakes' for which Earby was famous in by-gone days, and which earned for Earbyites the nickname of 'Baum Cakers.'
The Feast Tuesday was always given up to day trips to the seaside with Morecambe as the favourite place. How the day was looked forward to, and with what eagerness young children went with their parents to get their first view of the sea! This one day trip to the seaside was usually the only one of the year and was eagerly looked forward to as much as Christmas Day itself. From 1901 there was a full weeks holiday available, although most people could still only afford the one day at the seaside.
In 1857 the Sunday School prizes awarded to the children were of books and clothing, and a tea party was held as usual at Earby Feast. The price of tickets to friends at this tea party was sixpence (21/2p), and buns and crackling were provided for the children. It was agreed with the Weslyans that a joint procession should be formed to proceed to the field. In the following year the Amusement Committee again met with the Weslyans do arrange a joint event and the games they agreed should be played on the field were:
Shuttlecock, skipping, racing, marbles, blind mans buff, balls and pins. "But we forbid all games of these kinds:
Tipping, badding, bucking, jumping, boxing, wrestling, duckstones, bowling."


What is to be hoped is a spelling mistake in the Minutes for the 25th. Nov. 1859 could possibly give quite a wrong impression of what was to take place that Christmas. If not it must have been a change from earlier years !!
"That we have a tea party at Christmas. That the evening be spent in sinning, reciting and speech making."
In the early Feast Days the procession started at Top o't Town,' then they went to the Bracewell residence at Green End House where they were admitted to the grounds and gave renderings of favourite hymns. Afterwards they walked to Thornton where they sang their hymns round the old love tree. In 1866 the school procession ended up at Joseph Wilkinson's field, called the Milking Field. In 1870 the procession was to start from the Bull Ring and proceed up Catgate, then to Green End Back, to the turn of Espin Lane, and then on to the field, singing at each place as they went along. Tea was to be on the table on the field at 4 o'clock The children were to be supplied with a bun each, along with other eatables, and the Earby Band was asked to play in the Gallery of the chapel during tea, collections having been made for them on the field. There had been disatisfaction in previous years with arrangements with the Weslyans, and it was mutually agreed that the processions and field days should be totally separated. Things had improved in 1887 as although there were two processions, they met up at Mr. Bailey's shop in Water Street (by the old Bull Ring), there to sing two hymns together. Both schools then went on to the same field, with Earby Brass Band supplying both schools at a fee of £3.
In 1891 and 1882 there were the following attractions on the field:
Seesaws and swings, an Aunt Sally, a cricket match for the teachers of each school, skipping for the girls, also a dozen shuttlecocks and battledoors were to be got for a competition event. A broomstick match was also arranged between ladies and gentlemen from both schools. Each school was to subscribe ten shillings (50p) for nuts and sweets for the children.
The fields used throughout the years for the Feast were, Milking Field, The Banks, Alder Hill, Moor Hall, High Crofts, and Applegarth.
The officers of the various Sunday Schools are requested to follow these instructions:
1. The procession will be formed in Water Street
2. The Schools will march in the following order: United Methodists, Salvation Army, Wesleyan,
Church of England, Spiritualist, Primitive Methodist, Baptist.
3. Earby Brass Band will lead the procession. The Barnoldswick S.A. Band will march immediately
in front of the Spiritualists.
4. Route: Assemble in Water Street, via Riley Street, Green End, New Road, Brook Street, George
Street, James Street, John Street, Barrett Street. Hartley Street, Rostle Top Road (halt), Colne
Road, Victoria Road, Empire (halt), School Lane, Skipton Road, Albion Road (halt).
5. Halts will be made to sing at Rostle Top, Empire, Bank of Liverpool.
6. The procession will disperse as follows:
Earby Brass Band will lead the United Methodists, Weslyans & Baptists back to their schools. Barnoldswick S.A. Band will lead the Spiritualists, Salvation Army & Primitive Methodists. The Church of England will return by way of Albion Road and Skipton Road.
7. Sports will be held in the Banks Field, (kindly lent by the Earby Co-operative Society, commencing
at 6p.m.
8. No ice cream or sweet stalls will be allowed on the field.
The cost of the demonstration will not be less than £20. It is expected that every effort will be made to collect this sum. Collections will be taken on the route of the procession, and at the entrance to the Sports Field.

The first chapel had been built in 1821. In less than forty years, owing to the increase in the congregation, this building had become much too small, and in 1859 a beginning was made with a scheme for a new and more commodious building. There were several good sites in the village on which a chapel could be built and a committee was appointed to inspect these and report as to their findings. The piece of land eventually decided upon was the best site in the village, although it was very uneven, in fact one part of it was used as a quarry. Dividing the land from the roadway adjoining the beck was a wall of rough cobble-stones, and at that time there was also a roadway on the far side of that beck, while one of the village wells was situated near to the present entrance gates. (This still exists and was re-discovered some years ago when the road was being repaired, and the well was left covered over with a stone slab.)
The deacons were afraid the site would not be for sale, as even at that time it was very difficult to buy land on which to build a dissenting chapel. However there was nothing to be lost by approaching the owner, and a deputation was appointed to see him. Thomas Riley, who owned this land, was surprisingly sympathetic with them, the only problem being how much he would charge them for the land, as when asked for his terms he would not state a figure but abruptly said "Oh I shan't hurt you."Of course this was far too vague to the Baptist deputation, so they asked him for a definate price which they could then discuss with the other members of the Church on their return. Even what appeared to be a modest sum to him might be too much for their limited purse.
"Well, will ten shillings (50p) hurt you ?" asked Mr. Riley. The astonished delegates could have been knocked over with the proverbial feather, and the transaction was concluded with all possible speed. A month later the formal transfer of the land took place at a solicitor's office in Colne. As they were sitting round the table, the solicitor remarked that as soon as the purchase price had been paid they could commence to sign. One of the committee laid the 10/- on the table, and the signatures were appended by both parties to the transfer document. The business concluded, all those concerned prepared for departure, when one of the committee members drew Mr. Riley's attention to the fact that he had not picked up the half-sovereign, at which he put his finger upon it, pushed it across the table and said "That is my contribution to the building fund."
And so the hard work began. Hundreds of loads of material had to be excavated to make the site ready for building upon, but this work was willingly done by voluntary labour of the men and lads at that time. As one writer puts it "As I look at the present building I am amazed at their faith in putting up such a structure; remembering the small population of the village, and their poor circumstances. Such an act of faith and courage calls forth our admiration and wins our regard. Verily, they were great men." The members of the congregation dug the drains and foundations, and performed all the heavy work in the evenings and on Saturday afternoons and the stone used for building the chapel came from a burnt out mill (thought to be Lothersdale, or in that vicinity). Some burn marks can still be seen on a number of building blocks.
On Good Friday 1860 special services were held in connection with the laying of the foundation stone of the new chapel and the collections raised nearly £100, which gave a total available of £500. The minutes give the cost of the new chape! as:
"Labour given, valued at £65. Nett cost including above, £1,407. Paid as interest £40."
The Church was going through a difficult time just then as Mr Ryland, the minister, writes in the Minute Book;
''.... a deadness in the Church ..."
"Our state as a Christian Church is low, which greatly depresses the minds of the faithful ..."
"I have this day resigned the pastorate of the Baptist Church at Earby, no signs of life
appearing my soul has become much discouraged on several accounts." "It is a time of great trial both to the minister and the people."
The church was opened for public worship in 1861 "We were permitted to enter our new sanctuary on Good Friday 1861." A series of opening services was held, at which a number of leading preachers of the day took part. The collection at the opening ceremony realised £145, a tremendous sum for that time.

In 1867 a marriage licence was applied for, and the first couple to get married in the new chapel were presented with a handsome new bible.
A Matrimonial Thought
In the blithe days of honeymoon, With Kate's allurements smitten,
I lov'd her late, I lov'd her soon, And called her dearest kitten.
But now my kittens grown a cat, And cross like other wives,
0! by my soul, my honest Mat, I fear she has nine lives!
James Boswell
Protestant dissenters were allowed to celebrate valid marriages in their chapels until the year 1753 when "Hardwicke's Marriage Act" compelled everyone to be married in a parish church according to the Anglican ritual. This grievance of the Protestant dissenter, the Roman Catholic, the Unitarian, and the agnostic was not remedied until 1836, when a valid marriage could also be celebrated, either with a religious ceremony other than the Anglican, or without a ceremony at all, before the civil office of the State.
"And be it enacted that any proprietor or trustee of a separate building, certified according to law as a place of religious worship, may apply to the Superintendant Registrar of the district, in order that such building may be registered for solemnizing marriage ...."
Dissenters were therefore now at liberty to be married at their own chapels, by their own ministers, and according to their own form.
In 1921 a quotation was obtained for the complete electric wiring of the chapel. This was to include the taking out of the 7 B.H.P. Crossley gas engine and supplying a larger one. The tubing and wiring only were to cost £85, but the complete job was quoted at £800. A Renovation Fund Account in April lists:

Archie Hayworth Painting 350 00 00
" Extras 41 5 00
Charles Watson Joinery 129 11 3
Green & Smith Electric light tubing 71 10 8
William Wilkinson Masonry 70 1 1
Earby Gas Co. Gas boiler & gas main 65 10 4
Kendal Milne Ltd. Carpets 61 7 3
E. W. Smith Gas fittings 52 4 2
A. Bailey Carpets, lino, etc. 49 16 0
F. P. Windle Gas burners 23 0 5
J. H. Barker Vestry carpet 19 0 0
Rowland Hill Plastering 17 19 9
John Sagar Paint designing 10 10 0
£962 5 11
From the Chapel Deeds, 1861: The said Chapel or meeting house to be used as a place for public worship by the Society of Protestant Dissenters called Particular or Calvanistic Baptists.
In the late 1890's the land adjoining the chapel was rented out and used for the keeping of hens. The noise they created however was such that the services were often disrupted until eventually in 1900 the poultry keeper was asked to remove them, with the comment in the Minute Book relating " .... as it is a great annoyance during the service. "
The last service held in the chapel was on 5th. January 1975. The Church Hall was dedicated for public worship on the 11th. January.

A continuation of the history written in the new chapel Account Book, beginning on page 6.
Nothing of importance occured with regard to enlargement or chapel building from the above date till 1855 when an influential person that had lately come to Earby suggested the expeediancy of a new chapel. This person being acquainted with a gentleman possessing property in the neighbourhood asked him to grant land for the purpose of erecting a chapel to which he acceded. As a matter of course a meeting was called and it was resolved to make an attempt to build. A subscription was entered into headed by £100 from the person who had so kindly begged the land. Other monies were promised and here the matter rested till 1859, when in the providence of God the persons that promised the land and the money were severed by death. A rumour was in circulation that through the kind interference of family connections the sum first promised was raised to £200. When the friends of the deceased were asked if they were prepared to carry out the promise given, they promptly and kindly answered yes. This being settled it was resolved to commence the actual work. Trustees and a building committee were appointed and that committee at once agreed to look out for an efficient architect, who was found and engaged. The architect having choice of a site, first selected part of Kiln Croft, lying up to Catgate as the most desirable situation. The owner of the property objected to this selection on the grounds of the serious waste of land, at the same time pointing out two places in the same croft, one adjoining the Weslyan Chapel, and the other site where the chapel now stands.
The size and quality of the building and how to raise funds were next to be considered. These matters seemed insurmountable and all present seemed in a dilemma. The question was asked "How much money can be raised?" One (was) more sanguine than the rest and he at the stretch of his imagination attempted to make it possible to raise £600. This being admitted the architect was to make out a rough draft of a building to accommodate 550 persons - with probable cost. He did so, after consultation with contractors. He gave it as an opinion that it would cost £800 - after all the architect was ordered to prepare plans and specifications that took three or four months to complete. These being prepared advertisement of the work was issued, the committee reserving the power to let or not to let to the lowest or any other tender. During the time the plans were being prepared there was a great advance in the price of labour, and the contractors of whom the enquiry had been made stated that they could not do the work for the price mentioned, so it was inferred that the building would necessarily cost more by some two hundred pounds. This was thought serious. What to do? What a difficulty. The proprietor of the land advised the committee not to hurry in letting the work, as wages were then very high and would probably soon sink. However the letting day came and it was agreed to take in the tenders in order to ascertain to what they would amount. At the same time adding the cost of the work not contracted for, and if the whole exceeded not £1,100 they intended to accept the tenders approved of. The result was a few pounds over, yet tenders were accepted and executed, and like nearly all similar enterprises the cost was finally considerably more,
Items of interest from the old Building Account Book for the new chapel and the old school.
1861 Paid to Mr. Tiley for damages £7.1.21 / 2.
1865 Paid to John Windle for five days work 12/- (55p)
" " James Broughton for repairing privies 1/6 (71/2p)
" " Christ. Harrison for one load of stone 1/4
" " John Windle for five days work 12/-1869 (Aug.)
1869 (Aug) Received from Mrs. Clemmson £160 (see chapter on "Old Peggy")
(Dec.) Subscribed for the final removal of the Debt (on the new chapel) £6.18.9.
1871 Paid to James Wormwell for 49 yards of walling at 2/6 per yard £6.2.6.
1875 Paid to Thomas Bailey for the articles put in the bottle under foundation stone 2/-
Paid for silver trowel £7.9.0.
1875 (Jan.) Stall rents received: Stall No. 1, £51.15.101/2. No. 2. £50.13.1. Stall No. 3. £40.1.1.
Stall No. 4. £25.9.6. Stall No. 5. £23.17.71/2. Stall No. 6. £40.9.6. Spice Stall £6.10.9.
Refreshment Stall £3.18.5. At the door £34.2.11/2.
1876 Paid to Charles Watson for three days work in the chapel, and for paint, nails etc. 12/-
Paid for 1,000 bricks £1.1 5.0
Paid for the bricklayers board and lodgings £1.18 0.

Baptism was an old custom long before it symbolised initiation into the Christian Church. The ancient Egyptians, the Hebrews, and the Greeks all employed ritual immersion as a means of spiritual purification. The Church however, extended the idea to one of spiritual rebirth when the child was given the name by which it would be known.
The term Baptist was specially applied to John, the forerunner of Jesus;
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea .... Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptised of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Matthew iii 1-6
Baptists are a Christian denomination basing its policy on the New Testament, and holding that it is not according to scripture to baptise infants, but that the ordinance of baptism should be administered only to believers in Christ, and in their case not by sprinkling or affusion, but by immersion.
The baptisteries, or places of water for baptism, in those elder times, were not as
as now our fonts are, within the church, but without, and often in places very remote
from it.
Mede: Churches etc. p. 42
This was originally the case with the Earby Baptists when they built their first chapel in between "Grelpit" and Wentcliffe beck. They made steps leading down into the stream at the far corner of the chapel yard, and not far from "Keb Bridge." The steps can still be seen, and here the service of baptism was carried out, which must have meant damming up the beck for the ceremony as there are only two or three inches of water at that spot. It must also have been something of an ordeal in cold weather. On one occasion, on a cold winters day, it was considered conditions were too bad for the Minutes record;
February 25th. 1855. Three women were baptised at Barnoldswick in consequence of the severity of the weather and the ill state of health of the candidates.
On June 3rd: Four persons were baptised….. the service commenced in the open air. About
300 persons were present on that interesting occasion.
1919 saw the 100th. anniversary of the Church in Earby and:
On the Sunday, April 13th. there was a Baptismal Service when ten of the senior girl scholars went through the waters in obedience to, and for the love of our Lord's command. The sermon was by Mr. Percy Windle who preached that "The building of Mount Zion stood as a sign of the covenant between God and his people, where men and women had met with God and made a compact to love and serve him."
When they purchased the land in Water Street for the erection of their new chapel, the Church became the owners of that part of the beck which fronted this land. In 1886 the Waddingtons of Waddington Fold enquired about buying or renting it, but no action seems to have been taken on this request. A year later a ballot of members was held to authorise the Trustees of the Church to sell this watercourse, with the purchasers having to agree to the following conditions:
That no building or wall of any kind be erected near the water course. That suitable means of access to the water be preserved by the Church for the good of its own property.
In 1896 it was finally decided that "We give to Henry Judd in a deed of gift, that portion of the beck course opposite the Baptist chapel, and belonging to the Church,” Henry Judd paid £2 later on as final settlement.

The 100th. anniversary had a baptismal service of note (see chapter on Baptisms), on the Sunday, while on the Wednesday, April 15th. 1919 a sale of work was held. This was followed by tea and then a concert by the Church choir and soloists.
The greatest pleasure however was on the Good Friday, when there was a re-union of former ministers, members/scholars, and friends. At the evening meeting bibles were presented to some of the oldest members, some of whom had 50 years membership to their credit:
"Few were able to speak their thanks for emotion, and as the 'Mothers of Israel' climbed up the pulpit steps, the congregation realising this, cheered again and again. So ended a glorious day."
Saturday was a Sunday School day and there was a Grand Concert in the schoolroom after the meeting/ previous to this another sale of work had been held. On Easter Sunday an augmented choir rendered the "Creation" and there were meetings on Easter Monday and Tuesday.
A Centenary Committee proposed the raising of £300 for the anniversary, but this was to be "exclusive of the cost of the proposed new windows" Each section of the Church was asked to organise and contribute in some special effort. In 1921:
"The donors of the recently installed memorial windows to each pay £27. 10s. for their own windows. Total cost of the windows was £320. 6s, with a further £239. 4s. for leaded lights for the same."
For the 125th. anniversary there was a thanksgiving service on a Sunday afternoon, with refreshments provided in the School Room, together with a Bring and Buy stall-There were also side shows and games, while the evening meeting was followed by a Grand Concert supported by the children of the Sunday School. On the Sunday a fine musical programme was presented to a crowded Church, the augmented choir numbered 70 under the Leadership of John Smith, and there were a number of solo artistes. The total proceedings for the weekend were £130.
In June of 1912 ''Earby had the appearance of an ecclesiastical town with the garb of its visitors." This was due to the Yorkshire Association Meetings, which were being held in the village for that year. Great preparations had been made for several weeks before, with over eighty delegates being found accommodation in Earby itself. Others stayed in Thornton, Salterforth, Kelbrook, and Barnoldswick while, "Alder Hill School had been engaged for the luncheon, and here the ladies had excelled themselves and done great credit to the Church."
* * * * * * * * * * ***** * * * * *
Back row, all across 2/3 (11p) Sides, 7th. row 1/6
Second row " " 2/- Centre, front row 1/4
3 & 4 " 1/9 Side pews 1/6
5 & 6 " 1/6
Front row in top 1/10 all round The New Chapel Deeds dated 1861the clause that a certain number of pews and seats should be reserved as free pews for the indigent poor.
2nd “ “ 1/9 all round
3rd “ “ 1/8 all round
4th row in centre 1/6 all round
An old Earby farmer and his wife were conversing about their affairs, when he said to her in a very anxious tone, "Well lass, we shan't be here long, and there's one thing ah'd like to ask tha: Wheer would ta like to be buried ?" "A'top o' thee," she was quick to reply."
In 1886 the Church felt it was very desirable to have a burial ground " .... as at present there is no burial ground nearer than Thornton Church." They used to have a burial ground of their own in Chapel Square, alongside their first chapel, but it was only small, and it had been sold, with the building in 1877 to help raise money for a new Sunday School to be built behind their new chapel. The gravestones had been removed from the old to the new chapel yard, while before that date, in 1873, the Church had given permission to William Wilkinson to remove the remains of his father and inter them in the new Chapel yard, where stands the headstone to this day:
In memory of John Wilkinson and Sarah his wife, late residents of the adjoining house, the former of whom departed this life July 16th A.D. 1833 aged 73 years, the latter May 13th. A.D. 1834 aged 71 years.
Also William Wilkinson their son, who departed this life March 14 1846 aged 59 years. He was the beloved Pastor of the Church formed here for the period of 27 years and was a genuine Christian in love (?) of God, and joint-heir with Christ
The deacons approached the Weslyan body, asking them to join in the undertaking, but the latter could not see their way. However, here again was another venture of faith. After looking round for a suitable site, they purchased a plot of ground containing about two acres and this was laid out. A right of way to the land was obtained from the Manchester, Liverpool and District Banking Co. and a new road made leading from Water Street. The total cost of the ground, the road, fencing, and laying out was about £500, while hundreds of hours of labour were voluntarily and cheerfully given by men of the Church and congregation for the making and upkeep of the cemetery. The first interment took place on 28th. Sept. 1887, the body being that of Mrs. Wilkinson of Mill House, Earby.
The Church has never drawn a penny of the money incurred by the cost of its purchase and upkeep. All people in the parish had access to it and enjoyed the same privileges, at the same fees as the Baptists themselves. The last bit of money owing as overdraft at the bank was not paid until 1924 (the money had been borrowed at 3% interest). The Trustees of the chapel were nominated also as Trustees of the burial ground, and in 1888 a resolution was passed which stated that "all persons who reside outside the Parish of Thornton wishing to bury their dead in the New Cemetery, will have to pay 25% extra on the ordinary burial dues."
The word cemetery comes from the Low Latin 'coemeterium,' meaning a sleeping place. Also from the Greek 'koimeterion,' meaning the same. From this comes 'keimai,' to lie down, or lie asleep. A cemetery is distinct from a churchyard in that it has no parish church attached, and is usually situated outside a town or village. In law a permanent grave can be purchased in a cemetery, whereas it cannot be in a churchyard.
1892 saw the interment of Eliza Cudworth, who had been brutally murdered by her husband in Earby:
"Immediately following the coffin was the eldest daughter, clasping with one hand the hand of her baby sister .... Then followed the two sons of the deceased, her two brothers and their wives, her husband's sister and a few friends. Eliza's mother was present at the house for the service there, but did not go on to the cemetery where, at the graveside just inside the gates, Mr. Brown (Weslyan lay preacher), completed the burial service after heading the funeral procession from the house. During these proceedings little Katie (4 year old daughter of the deceased) playfully handled the flowers at the graveside, which caused many of the onlookers to be moved to tears, and as the coffin was slowly lowered into the ground, Mary Alice (eldest daughter) broke down and sobbed bitterly. (“Murder in the Old Lane” …….Jim Walker)
The scale of cemetery charges in 1901 was:
One plain grave £2 (freehold £2.10s.)
One bricked grave £3.10s. (freehold £4.10s.)
Re-opening a freehold grave £1
Erection of a gravestone 7s. 6d. (371/2p)
Interrment of a stillborn child 6s.
In 1907 the Baptist ministers fee for a funeral was 2s. 6d.
In all graveyards pressure on space was great, hence the practice of burying bodies one on top of another, and in 1910 the Cemetery Registrar was given authority to put three interments in one grave, provided he thought there was sufficient room. The cemetery rules were amended in 1908 so that "Any minister or layman of any Free Evangelical Church to be allowed to officiate at the grave side." It had been proposed in 1896 that a chapel be built in the cemetery. On Feb. 22nd. 1923 an inmate of the Skipton Union Workhouse was granted burial in the cemetery at a fee of £1 only.
The cemetery was eventually given the name "Wheatlands" from the fact that the land in that vicinity had previously been a cornfield. In 1925 the Rev. J. B. Atkinson, curate-in-charge of Earby Parish Church requested the Earby Urban District Council to provide a public cemetery at the expense of the ratepayers, and the Mount Zion Baptist Committee asked the council to meet them to discuss the taking over of their cemetery for this purpose. A sub-committee set up to discuss this were advised that the parishoners in the parish of Earby had a legal right of burial in Thornton churchyard as hitherto, and facilities were still given. The accomodation in that churchyard was stated to be sufficient for the next six or seven years, and there was one acre of land adjoining which the rector was willing to give to the church, providing sufficient money was raised to enclose it. The Baptist cemetery was stated to be sufficiently large to accomodate the population for the next fifty years. After a brief discussion it was decided that no steps be taken to provide a public cemetery within the urban district.
In 1949 the Urban District Council intimated by letter that they were now willing to purchase the cemetery. A special meeting was called to discuss this, and the pastor said that the cemetery was fast becoming too great a burden for the Church to bear, owing to their limited resources and the high cost of labour and materials. If it was agreed on to sell the cemetery all the members and also the Charity Commissioners would have to give their assent.
In 1951 a valuation was made for the Church on the cemetery and it was now up to the District Valuer to instruct the council as to how much to offer. Finally, in 1953 Wheatlands Cemetery was sold to the Council for £555.

In the latter half of the last century Earby was well known throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire for the quality of its musicians and singers. In those days it was a common event for the local musicians and choirs to meet on a fine warm summer morning at Wentcliffe Nook near Pinhaw and practice the Messiah and other works in the open air.
One of the most accomplished musicians was Henry Pickles, a grocer of Aspen Lane, and probably his most memorable performance was at Wheatley Lane in Burnley. A high class concert had been arranged there for which the services were obtained of a violinist of national fame; but he sent word at the last moment that he was unable to come. Someone recommended Henry Pickles to the distracted committee and a carriage and pair was sent off with a member of that committee to fetch him. On arriving in Aspen Lane he had the greatest difficulty in persuading our shy musician to accompany him and it was only when he pleaded their desire to cultivate the love of music in Burnley that he consented. Henry Pickles consented and drove off with his cello to Burnley. The audience was disposed to laugh when he came on to the platform, but he soon had them spellbound. Such was the sensation he created that no other musician had a look in, and for years that concert was spoken of as the success of the winter. When Henry Pickles died, all his old pupils and friends decided to raise a monument to his memory in Thornton churchyard and to this end they gave the Messiah in 1873 in the Baptist chapel. Instrumentalists and vocalists came from Colne, Burnley, Skipton, and Keighley, and it eclipsed all oratorio performances given before or since in this district.
From the writings of John Hartley and James Lindley (schoolmaster)
A concert was held in 1884, which together with a bazaar had the aim of wiping out the remaining debt on the chapel. This had a number of distinguished artists, who were supplimented by nearly all the instrumental talent which the village could produce. The solo singers came from as far away as Bradford, together with the Orpheus Glee Party from Nelson. The Earby String Band gave several selections of music, with Earby Brass Band also in attendance. William Hartley, the chapel organist, was the organiser and accompanist, and the concert was acknowledged to be one of the most successful ever held in the village. The church always had a high reputation for the quality of its musical offerings, William Hartley was a skilful and enthusiastic cello player before the days of the organ, and he was in demand for every charity sermon in all the surrounding countryside. To the end of his life he was a noted figure at Black Lane Ends sermons. He and his wife were a delightful couple, and the visiting preachers were usually entertained at their home in Water Street, adjoining the chapel.
In 1886 it was decided to buy a new organ, the estimated cost of which was reckoned to be about £400. (During the meeting to decide this it was proposed to announce to the congregation that they stand up when chanting). It was decided that all money raised by the Church in the ensuing bazaar and concert should be divided between the Burial Ground Fund and the New Organ Fund, with 2/3 going towards the burial ground and 1/3 for the organ.
But was it ever such an organ as the monk Wotan described about the year 1200 ?
"Twelve pair of bellows, ranged in stately row, Are joined above, and fourteen more below; These the full force of seventy men require, Who ceaseless toil, and plenteously perspire; Each aiding each, till all the winds be prest In the close confines of the incumbent chest, On which four hundred pipes, in order rise, To bellow forth the blast that chest supplies."
William Hartley (baker of oatcakes and muffins at his bakehouse in Red Lion Street), was choirmaster and organist at the Baptists for over 30 years, and his musical enthusiasm is shown by the names he gave to his children - Handel, Hayden, Novello, Lloyd, George Frederick, and Halle. His services received a fitting recognition when in 1892, after 20 years service, he was presented with an illuminated address and a purse of gold.

When the Rev. Walter Wynn was the minister he usually left it to the organist to choose the hymns as well as the tunes. William was fond of using the heavy Bourdon stop on the pedal organ, which used to make the building vibrate. Mr. Wynn said to him one Sunday morning "William whatever have you been doing this morning, the noise was like the tipping of a big load of potatoes !" William neatly turned the tables on Mr. Wynn a few weeks later, after a sermon in which the pastor had been most dramatic in his manner. Going down into the minister's vestry at the close of the service he exclaimed, "Mr. Wynn whatever made you carry on as you have done this morning ? I never saw such antics." And suiting the actions to the words he gesticulated wildly with his hands and careered round the vestry in imitation of the minister.
Levi Turner was the choirmaster for about twenty years, and his daughter Millicent became a brilliant violinist, also being a schoolteacher at Alder Hill School. About one hundred years ago violins were being manufactured at Booth Bridge and there must have been a ready sale for them in Earby.
In 1920 the Minutes record the offer by Mrs. E. Greenwood of £1,000 for a new organ fund.
***** *****
LEGACIES and GIFTS to the Church
Letter from Mrs. C. W. Bailey to the Trustees, 15th. Dec. 1925:
Dear Friends,
In memory of my dear husband will you please accept a Silver Bowl for flowers for the communion Table, and also the sum of £150 to be paid into the Sunday School account, as my husband felt so strongly the importance of young peoples work.
I should like the interest on the money to be used for the Training of Workers among the young. I would suggest that one Trustee be appointed from the Church and one from the Sunday School.
Yours sincerely, Mary Bailey. Dedicating prayers were offered for these gifts given as a memorial to the late Deacon.
Aug. 1931. Mrs. Wormwell had bequeathed the sum of £100 to the Church, and her daughter suggested to the Deacons that the sum should go towards putting in electric lighting. As this was not a sufficient sum to install a full service of electric light in the Church it was agreed that the new school should be lit, the balance to be invested for Church purposes. A tablet was to be placed in the School Room as a memorial.
Particulars of all the investments of the Church were submitted to the Yorkshire Association in 1943 as follows:
Nutters Legacy £500
Mrs. Wormwell £70
Mr. & Mrs. King £70
Property Account £60
In 1951 Mrs. E. A. Berry left a legacy of £1,000 to be used solely for maintaining the Church buildings This was designated the
''Elizabeth Ann Berry Building Maintenance Fund"

Dear Friends,
Mount Zion is a Baptist Church and it is situated in Water Street, Earby. It has a membership of seventy people, who are active in the life of the Community and participate in voluntary work such as Meals on Wheels, Pendle Voice, (Newstapes for the blind), Hospital transport to Skipton and service in the wards of Raikeswood Hospital.
We believe that the best definition of Church is this - a friendly society ! In recent years we have knitted ourselves into a family and our Church activities are so organised as to foster that spirit. We conclude our Sunday morning service with coffee to enable visitors to the Church to meet and converse with our members.
Services are held each Sunday at 10.30a.m. and 6.00p.m. The morning service is one of family worship and includes a creche for the very young
For many years Mount Zion has gained a reputation for catering for the youth of Earby. The Boys' Brigade and Girls' Brigade were dominant features of Church life for many years. Today we have the Boys' Fellowship and Girls' Fellowship meeting on Monday and Tuesday evenings respectively, catering for children from 7 to 11 years of age. Our Youth Club meets on a Monday evening catering for the 11 to 16 age group.
Other activities include a Monthly Slide Show, Collage and Art Class, Keep Fit Class, Bible Study Group and Sisterhood. Details of such meetings can be obtained from either the Minister or Secretary of the Church. Frequent Church outings arranged during the summer months have added a new dimension to the Church's activities.
We would like to expand our work in Earby during the days to come, and so we invite you to join our ranks, emphasising that a warm welcome awaits you in our Church.
There is much to be done in Earby and we feel that our Church can play an active and important part in the life and activity of the Community, and thus extend God's Kingdom in this part of the vineyard.
Yours sincerely, Minister and Deacons.
In the early 1920's the Baptist Churches of Earby and Barnoldswick were assisting the Church at Salterforth by supplying ministers. For these services Salterforth paid the sum of "Not less than £25 per year to each Church." Salterforth people had also left Barnoldswick to start up their own Church, but this was not until 1861 when five members formed their small congregation. In 1921 an amalgamation of Earby and Salterforth Baptist Churches was suggested by the Deacons of both Churches, "At the same time preserving to each Church the separate management of their own internal affairs." A little later on however the members turned this down.
1922 Mr. J. H. Barker and Percy Windle were to be responsible for getting rid of rats on the Church premises.
In 1943 the question of Open Membership was discussed at a Deacon's meeting, and it was decided to recommend to the members of the Church the following:
That we admit persons into full Church Membership without Baptism PROVIDED they have been members of another Church and confessed Faith in our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and willing at all times to obey His Laws.
All persons must make an application to the Church Secretary, when same will be considered at a Church Meeting, before being received into membership of the Communion.

23735 Words
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Transcribed from original text by John Turner - December 2005

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