Congregationalism in Yorkshire (1868) - Appendix: Huddersfield (Congregational)

Appendix entry from Congregationalism in Yorkshire (1868) by James G. Miall relating to Highfield Independent Chapel, Huddersfield

Huddersfield (Congregational)

The Rev. Edward Hill, M.A., was during some time Vicar of Huddersfield. He afterwards became Rector of Crofton, whence he was ejected in 1662.

During many subsequent years Evangelical religion seems to have become extinct.

We have already made reference to the circumstances under which the first Independent chapel at Huddersfield arose after the cessation of the evangelical ministry of the Rev. Henry Venn (1770). His separation from his attached flock was extremely painful to him and to them. After his removal, the parish church no longer supplied the evangelical doctrine to which the parishioners had listened with so much eagerness, and a dispersion of the lovers of truth took place in all directions. Some of them at length determined to erect a chapel, and to possess a pastor of their own choice. This step met with Mr. Venn's sanction, and he took an active part in promoting the movement, becoming himself a subscriber of £20. His desire was that the liturgy should be used ; but in this he was disappointed, such not being the wish of the people. After a time another vicar of evangelical principles was appointed to the living. But the flock had now acquired a taste for their free worship, and few of them returned.

The chapel was erected in 1771, and opened Jan. 1, 1772. The people then proceeded to the choice of a minister. There were three candidates, Mr. Dawson, Mr. Crossley, and Mr. Moorhouse ; and the last was chosen by the majority of a single vote. The result was, however, a happy settlement. The congregation became very numerous, and the chapel soon required enlargement. Mr. M.'s character was high, his style sententious, and his usefulness great.

The following is the order of pastors —

  • 1772. Rev. William Moorhouse. Mr. M. was a most active and. energetic man, deeply interested in all the religious movements of the Riding. He took the lead in the formation of Rotherham College, and drew up the letter on that subject addressed to the Independent churches of Yorkshire. During his pastorate a house was built for the minister (1774), and in 1791 the chapel was enlarged. Mr. Moorhouse published a sermon preached at the double lecture, Heckmondwike, 1778, the subject being "Faith and Good Works." He died July 29, 1823, æt. 80.
  • 1823. Rev. Benjamin Boothroyd, from Pontefract, for four or five years assistant to Mr. Moorhouse, succeeded him. "He was, as a scholar, more sound and deep than nice and fastidious ; as a divine, more simple and scriptural than bold and speculative ; as a preacher, more textual, faithful, and experimental than ingenious and metaphysical. His aim was usefulness, and all his studies, researches, and writings were directed to that end, and stamped with that impress ; and few of his contemporaries have left more decisive memorials of their piety and diligence, or richer legacies to the generation following."[1] Dr. Boothroyd died Sept. 8, 1836, æt. 68.
  • 1838. Rev. John Glendenning (Airedale Coll.). In the year 1844, a new and handsome chapel was opened, with all the necessary apparatus for the accommodation of the congregation, and for Sunday-school instruction. In the latter department Highfield Chapel has been eminently distinguished. In 1853 Mr. G. removed to Uxbridge, and subsequently to the Tabernacle, Bristol.
  • 1854. Rev. Robert Bruce, M.A. (Lancashire Coll., and Aberdeen Un.). During his ministry a valuable organ has been set up, built by Walker, London, at an expense of £850. A new schoolroom has been also erected at Paddock (cost £1100), and the school-rooms at Highfield have been rebuilt at an expense of £4000. Mr. Bruce is the present minister.

  1. Scales' funeral sermon MSS.

Congregationalism in Yorkshire (1868) - Appendix: Huddersfield (Congregational)


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