The removal from Huddersfield of the Rev. H. Venn, especially when he was followed by a successor so unlike himself, was the cause of grievous distress to all who had attended on his ministry, and ultimately led to the formation of many societies, who obtained the aid of occasional preachers. Such was the origin of the congregation at Honley.
Honley had enjoyed, before 1662, the ministry of Rev. David Drury, a man (as Calamy says) "eminent for piety and for his gift in prayer." His successor in the church was a man who in his dying hours confessed himself to be destitute of all religion. This acknowledgment was made to O. Heywood, under whose former preaching at Honley this clergyman had been much impressed, and he now lamented that he had taken up the ministry for a livelihood, and was an unconverted and debauched man. Heywood spoke to him earnestly and prayed with him, out with the conviction that "profane preachers are the most unlikely to be wrought upon." He then left him ; he had travelled eight miles over bad roads to visit him. Before he could repeat his visit the man had died, without sign of penitence.
After Venn's removal, the pious people of Honley worshipped for a time under the ministry of the Rev. W. Moorhouse, of Huddersfield. About 1795, however, the Rev. George Richardson, having then resigned his charge at Peniston, was invited to Honley, and preached during the feast-week at the house of Mr. Benj. Littlewood. A congregation was thus begun, and soon a chapel arose on a site presented by Mr. L. It was opened July 31, 1795, with sermons by Revs. E. Parsons (Leeds), and Joseph Cockin (who was a native of Honley, and had taken great interest in the preliminary movements). The chapel was at first open to all denominations ; but the arrangement proved unsatisfactory, and a majority at length assigned it to the Independents upon the payment by them of an adjudicated sum. This was in 1798. The ministers have been :—