Leeds Mercury (02/Jun/1859) - Opening of a New Baptist Chapel at Pole Moor, Slaithwaite

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.

Opening of a New Baptist Chapel at Pole Moor, Slaithwaite.

Pole Moor chapel for the last sixty years has been noted as a place of no little importance. Though situate on the borders of Slaithwaite and Deanhead, with only a few scattered cottages within some considerable distance, yet every Sabbath morning the old chapel was crowded with an attentive congregation, many of them having for years travelled miles in order to be present. It was an encouraging sight to witness the earnestness and devotion of the people thus gathered on that lone mountain top. The Rev. W.H. Holmes for a period of thirty years occupied the pulpit, and through whose instrumentality many members have been added to the church. At length the Sunday scholars had generally to be dismissed, in order to give place to the elder persons of the congregation. This, and other circumstances combined, constrained the members to think of some plan to remedy the defect. Accordingly at a general meeting and tea-party, held in the school room on the 27th of July, 1857, it was resolved that an effort should be made towards the erection of a new chapel. The Rev. W. Walters, of Halifax, presided on the occasion, and after an appropriate sermon, a long list of subscribers was obtained, and £630 promised. It was then resolved that work should not be commenced till £1,000 had been guaranteed, which, after application to the friends in the district, was obtained. The building was commenced on the 5th of April last year, and completed for the opening services on Wednesday week, when sermons were preached to crowded congregations by the Revs. H.J. Betts, of Bradford, E. Mellor, of Halifax, and J.P. Chown, of Bradford. On Sunday last three sermons were preached by the Revs. H. Dowson, Bradford, and R. Bruce, Huddersfield. On Monday a sermon was preached in the afternoon, by the Rev. W. Walters, of Halifax. Afterwards a public tea party was held in the school room under the chapel. At six o’clock a public meeting was held in the chapel, and, in the absence of John Crossley, Esq., (who was present at the Leeds banquet to his brother and Sir John Ramsden), the chair was occupied by John Haigh, Esq., of Quarmby, who was supported by a number of Baptist ministers from the neighbouring chapels. The Chairman, in opening the meeting, said he found that it required £164 to clear the debt off the chapel, and as it was becoming due, thought it ought to be settled, so that Mr. Holmes, the minister, could go comfortably into the pulpit on Sunday morning, without being oppressed with the thought of the chapel being net free. He (the chairman) would give £5, and if they fell short of the object, he would make it £10. After some powerful appeals to the congregation, a number of the friends went round the chapel with slips of blank paper, and on their being collected it was found that £110 had been promised. The announcement was received with cheers. The respected chairman said they were still a considerable sum short. What was to be done? One of the congregation cried out of the gallery — "Send the papers out again." The suggestion was promptly taken, and on being re-collected it was found the money required was still short by a considerable sum. The chairman then urged that the debt must be paid before they separated, and requested the friends to go round with the boxes. This suggestion was adopted, and it was announced by the Rev. W. Walters that on the amount thus collected it was found that the chapel was clear and to spare. The announcement was received with cheers by the congregation. A vote of thanks was then warmly accorded to the chairman, the doxology was sung, and the meeting concluded. The chapel is one of the noblest monuments of voluntaryism ever erected in this country when all the facts in connection with the place are considered. — Correspondent.