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BENJAMIN SUTCLIFFE (1824-1910)

AND WELLINGTON ROAD BAPTIST CHAPEL TODMORDEN

by Ken Sutcliffe

 

The growth in the number of people living in Calderdale increased enormously during the 1840s with the exodus of people from the hilltops to work in the rapidly expanding factories in the valley beneath. This led members of the existing Baptist Churches to a belief in the need for much more spiritual work in the valley and consequently to the creation of new filial Churches from which this need could be serviced. Thus the old hilltop Church at Shore provided the pioneers of the Churches at Lineholme, Wellington Road, Vale, and later at Lydgate.


In 1845 nine people, previously members of the congregation at Shore, began to meet in the Mechanics Institute, which stood on the site of the present Town Hall. By 1849 they were strong enough to appoint their own Minister, Abram Wigley, who remained with them until 1853.

 


In 1857 they were joined by my great, great, granduncle Benjamin Sutcliffe, then 33 years old. Since the age of 22 Benjamin had been a baptised member of Mount Zion at Heptonstall Slack, but now followed his brother John into the cotton mills of Todmorden and became heavily involved in the building of the Wellington Road Church and the opening of the Chapel in 1859. He was to remain a most active member all of his life even surviving a clear dispute, which drove his wife Margaret, sister Sarah, and many friends out of Wellington Road and back to the Churches from whence they had come. These are referred to in Minute Books as the " unhappy events of 1867."

 

In 1872 Benjamin became leader of the Tuesday night Meeting and from 1873 conducted services in the absence of the Pastor. His wife rejoined in April 1877 and in December of that year Benjamin was made a Trustee of the Church, often entertaining visiting Ministers.

 
The Chapel was altered in 1871, by which time Benjamin was a Deacon and served on the Alteration Committee, even being authorised on November 30th of 1871 to have a new urinal installed! Alongside Benjamin on the Committee was his friend Dan Sutcliffe, who was Town Clerk of Todmorden. It may be that they were distantly related but this is not certain. Without question they both originated in the same small area around Blackshaw Head and their lives were much intertwined.

Photo by very kind permission of Frank Woolrych

   
He and Margaret had lived first on Union Street, then on Fairview, but in 1887 his nephew, Sugden Sutcliffe, built Commercial Street, and Benjamin moved into a house there. Margaret died in 1892 and Benjamin moved to live with his spinster sister Charlotte, also on Commercial Street. She died in 1905 and he then lived with his niece on Eagle Street until his death in March 1910, a month after he became the representative for Wellington Road Church on the District Committee. On Saturday 19th March 1910 he was buried at Heptonstall, but the following day a Memorial Service was held at Wellington Road, amongst a huge congregation.
   

He was the Senior Deacon at his death, having spent over 50 years in the service of the Church and it's Sunday School; Wellington Road being perhaps most celebrated for its work amongst the young people of the district. This can be judged from the membership of 216 in 1876 with a Sunday School of 406 pupils...yes, 406! There were 47 teachers.


The Sunday School closed soon after the 1939-45 war, probably in 1948, but the Church continued until 1953 when it was dissolved and the Chapel closed.


Ministers

1849-53
1861-69
1871-75
1876-78
1880-87
1888-1909

Abram Wigley

J. Finn

A.W. Cantrill

W.E. Bottrill

W. Marsh

T. Cotes

1912-15

1920-23
1924-27
1933-36
1939-43
1945-48

D.M. Paterson

F. Pickles

F. Whitaker

A.H. Lewis

Dr. T Southwell

W.D. Lewis

 

Deeds

The following deeds relating to Wellington Road Chapel are held in the West Riding Registry of Deeds. The reference number is shown alongside the details. For further information on the registry, see

http://www.archives.wyjs.org.uk/rodab.html

The information was kindly researched and supplied by Alan Longbottom to whom we are very grateful.

1862

Todmorden New Connexion General Baptists   1862 XD 028 025

Memorial Registered at Wakefield 27th May 1862 dated 30th April 1862

Between the Reverend Thomas Horsfield of the Manse in the Township of Todmorden and Walsden in the Parish of Rochdale and County of Lancaster, Minister of the Gospel of the one part, and: -

 

  • John Gibson of Greenwood Lee in the Township of Heptonstall, esquire
  • Charles Knowles of Hanging Ditch in the Township of Langfield moulder
  • William Sutcliffe of Heptonstall shopkeeper
  • James Dugdale of Blind Lane in Stansfield mechanic
  • William Newell of Lydgate in Stansfield cotton spinner and manufacturer
  • Joseph Pickles of Ridge Street in Todmorden weaver
  • John Mitchell of Todmorden stone cutter
  • Benjamin Sutcliffe of Todmorden twister
  • John Lord of Todmorden overlooker
  • Jacob Uttley of Todmorden weaver
  • John Speak of Todmorden weaver
  • James Barker of Todmorden weaver
  • John Dewhirst of Todmorden moulder
  • Amos Cunliffe of Woodshade in Todmorden mule spinner
  • Thomas Crossley of Walsden draper
  • Henry Mitchell of Blind Lane Stansfield weaver
 

Thereinafter sometimes called Trustees, of the other part.

Of and concerning all that plot or parcel of land situate in Stansfield aforesaid, part of a plot of land devised to the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield in and by a certain Indenture of Lease bearing date 23rd February 1857 and made between James Stansfield and James Taylor therein described of the one part and the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield of the other part - and parcel of the Stansfield Hall Estate aforesaid, which plot of land was bounded on the Southerly side by an intended street there 7 yards wide, to be called Eagle Street, and extended on that side 51 feet, on the Northerly side by Wellington Road and extended on that side 51 feet, on the Easterly side by other lands belonging to the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield and extended on that side 60 feet, on the Westerly side by White Platts Street and extended on that side 60 feet and 9 inches and the same plot contained in the whole by admeasurement including one half of the said Street to be called Eagle Street, 401 and a half superficial square yards or thereabouts, and is more fully delineated and shewn in the Plan endorsed on the back of the said indenture of Lease and thereon coloured Pink.

 

And also the Chapel and Schoolroom and other buildings lately erected thereon by the said Trustees. And also free licence, liberty and right of way for the said Trustees, their Executors, administrators and assigns or any of them for all purposes and on all occasions through along and over Wellington Road aforesaid and the said streets called White Platts Street and Eagle Street. And also over all extensions of the said streets respectively from the said plot to the Turnpike Road. And also liberty, right, power to insert one service pipe of half an inch diameter into a certain main pipe of 3 inches in diameter then laid along a certain street near the said plot called Raglan Street from a Lodge in the said Close called White Platts with branches therefrom and taps thereto each not exceeding half an inch in diameter, and thereby from time to time and at all times (subject as thereinafter mentioned) to convey water from such 3 inch main pipe unto and into the said plot of land thereby demised and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon or on any part thereof for the purpose of supplying the owners and occupiers thereof with water for ordinary household domestic purposes only, such liberty to be without prejudice to an in common with the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield their executors, administrators, and assigns, and such right of water to be without prejudice to the right of the original lessors of the said plot of land, their heirs, lessees, or assigns, and all other persons who were then entitled or empowered to insert service pipes into the said 3 inch main pipe or any other main pipe within the Estate of the original lessors for supplying water to any other hereditaments. And the said rights of road and Street to be without prejudice to the right of the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield their executors, administrators, and assigns and of the said original lessees, their heirs and assigns from time to time to lay down and afterwards take up, repair and relay when necessary, and to examine any pipes, drains or sewers in the said Streets.  

And also liberty right and power under the direction of the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield their executors, administrators and assigns and of the said original lessors and their surveyor to make looses, sewers and drains from the said plot of land and buildings thereby demised unto the main loose or drain already made along the said Street called White Platts Street on the westerly side of the said plot, or in Wellington Road aforesaid, and to repair, open, and cleanse such service pipes looses, sewers or drains when and as occasion should require. Together with the appurtenances to the said plot of land belonging. Excepting and reserving thereof unto the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield their executors, administrators and assigns, and also to the said original lessors, their heirs and assigns free passage of water through the drains, channels, and sewers already made and then existing in the said street called White Platts Street and Wellington Road respectively. And also the free passage for all purposes through along and over the several causeways thereinafter mentioned adjoining the said plot of land.

And which said deed as to the execution of which by the said Thomas Horsfield, is witnessed by William Newman of Louth, corn merchant and Anthony Bywater of the same place bricklayer. And as to execution by most of the Trustees is witnessed by Thomas Edward Hammerton and William Gould both of Todmorden, gentlemen, and as to execution by William Sutcliffe is witnessed by Thomas Edward Hammerton. And as to execution by William Newell is witnessed by William Gould.

**

1897

 

Todmorden (Wellington Rd.) Baptist Chapel   1898 002 690 312 

Memorial of Indenture Registered at Wakefield 11th January 1898 dated 15th December 1897. Between:

 

  • Walter Lord of Adamroyd Todmorden in the County of York, machine maker and cotton manufacturer

of the 1st part.

  • Charles Knowles formerly of Hanging Ditch in the Township of Langfield in the Parish of Halifax and county of York moulder, and now of Wharf Ironworks machinist
  • Benjamin Sutcliffe of Todmorden within Langfield - twister
  • James Barker formerly of Todmorden within Langfield, but now of 13, Adelaide Street,
  • Todmorden - weaver
  • John Dewhirst formerly of Todmorden within Langfield moulder and now of Littleborough in the county of Lancaster retired ironfounder
  • Amos Cunliffe formerly of Woodshade in the Township of Todmorden and Walsden in the county of Lancaster - mule spinner and now of 32, Garden Street, Todmorden in the county of York - insurance agent

of the other part. (The surviving Trustees of the Wellington Road Baptist Chapel Todmorden.)

 

All the yearly rent of Ten pounds reserved by an Indenture of Underlease dated the 1st day of April 1861 and made between Edward Lord and John Stansfield of the one part and the Rev. Thomas Horsfield of the other part in respect of the plot of land thereby demised for a term of 995 years (such plot being hereinafter described) And also all that plot or parcel of land situate in the Township of Stansfield in the Parish of Halifax aforesaid (part of a plot of land demised to the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield by an Indenture of Lease dated the 23rd February 1857, and made between James Taylor and James Stansfield of the one part and the said Edward Lord and John Stansfield of the other part, and parcel of Stansfield Hall Estate and bonded on the southerly side by Eagle Street and extends on that side 51 feet, on the northerly side by Wellington Road and extends on that side 51 feet, on the easterly side by land assigned by the said Edward Lord to Joshua Fielden and extends on that side 60 feet, on the westerly side by White Platts Street and extends on that side 60 feet and 9 inches, and the same plot contains in the whole by admeasurement including one half of Eagle Street 401 and a half superficial square yards or thereabouts and is more fully delineated and shown in the Plan endorsed upon the said Indenture of Underlease and thereon coloured Pink. And also the Chapel and School erected on the said plot of land demised by the said Indenture of Underlease and the appurtenances.

 

Witnesses :- Charles Edwin Sutcliffe of Todmorden solicitor, and Dan Sutcliffe of Todmorden solicitor, Fred Dennett, clerk to Messrs Eastwoods and Sutcliffe, solicitors of Todmorden, Thomas Cotes of Todmorden, Baptist Minister as witness to execution by Charles Knowles.

 

**

 

The chapel was licensed for marriages. There is no burial ground

 

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