Lee Chapel, Horwich - Independent
Founded by Members of Rivington Chapel
The Oldest Non Conformist Place of Worship in Horwich
WHERE GRAVES ARE TO BE SMASHED UP BY DEVELOPERS - JULY 2007
have been recorded and published by the Bolton branch of the
Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society. Not yet
available in digital format.
It was founded in 1765. It has a prior history before Chapel records start.
The Chapel is considered to have been first founded in 1672 within the house
of Thomas Willoughby. The Chapel was not created by Act of Licence it was a
licence granted to an existing Chapel. The Chapels of Horwich and Rivington
were the first in Lancashire to granted Royal Favour, the Freedom to
worship as non conformists. Hampson in his history of Horwich, 1893 says
'Rivington and Horwich were rent in twain".
At one time the Rivington Chapel members who could not agree to the Unitarian
ways gathered at a dingle or quarry at the base of Rivington Pike, the
founding words as quoted by Hampson were spoken at the outdoor meeting, on a
cold and wet day " Brethren, something must be done", from those
words the cottage was obtained, that cottage was to become Lee Chapel.
Here commenced the very first Sunday school.
In 1760 four pious men left with a large flock of the congregation of
Rivington Chapel to swell the numbers at Horwich, Rivington Unitarian Chaple was
at that time Presbyterian.
The four men were:
- HUGH MAKINSON
- MOSES COCKER
- THOMAS ANDERTON
- JOHN ASHWORTH
By 1774 says Hampson the four men had founded a new building for Lee
Chapel. The Rev. Leonard Redmayne, who's grave is
to be smashed in 2007, was one of the first ministers to serve the Lee Chapel.
He began his ministry in 1777, he ended his ministry in 1822 and died age 82
in 1829. During these years within the names you will find the Pilkingtons
of Rivington at Lee Chapel. By June 1787 a well organised Sunday School
with over 100 children attending was launched, this provided education to all
families. Lee Chapel had become the not just a Chapel but the centre of
After the Rev. Leonard Redmayne the Rev Robert Harris
took up the ministry, he died whilst a serving minister May 19 1840, a total
of 18 years as minister. The Rev John Jones took over the
Ministry in 1841, he resigned 1842. He was replaced with Rev A. Bateson
in 1843 and he remained at the Chapel five years.
The pastorate was vacant until 1854 when Rev Mark Hardaker
took up the Ministry. The Rev. Hardaker had raised the funds and support in
1854 for a new building as we see today. The official opening was June 11th
1856. Rev Hardaker resigned in 1867. The pastorate again being vacant until
1869 when Rev R. Nicholls became Minister for one year
followed for six months by Rev. D Williams then also of
Bolton and Adlington. The Rev. Watkins took up the
Ministry until 1878. At the time of writing Hampson says (1882) the Minister
was Rev. W. J Houlgate.
Noted schoolmaster :
From 1814 for 6 years - James Rothwell
From 1820 for 19 years - John Hood.
The building was designed by George Woodhouse. Mr. W. Pickersgill
as builder and Joseph Clarkson, joiner,
contributed labour to the building work. Other works being conducted by
Mr. Sharples of Chorley.
The building committee were
John Turner of Rivington - Chair
James Clarkson - Treasurer
J. Waterhouse - Davanport as secretary
Other members were
Rev. M. Hardaker
W & J Clarkson
Jesse Hood of Adlington
Some interesting names appear as the first preachers for the 1854 opening of
the new building
Rev Thomas Raffles
Rev Enoch Mellor of Halifax
Rev Robert Vaughan - President of Lancashire Independent
Rev William Roaf of Wigan
The Independent churches were ones in which each congregation was
autonomous, upholding the principles of independence. In the 19th century they
became known as Congregational.
In 1972 the Congregational church joined with the English Presbyterian
church to become the United Reformed Church.The Chaple closed in 2005, bought
later by developers.
Whilst every effort has been made to record exact details of record office
and library holdings you are recommended to check with them before visiting to
ensure that they do hold the records and years you wish to examine. Similarly
check with transcript publishers to ensure they cover the records and years
you require before making a purchase.
- Baptisms 1765-1836 Not yet available in digital format.
The Manchester &
Lancashire Family History Society have published filmed copies of the
- Bap 1838-1879 and 1882-1894 Not yet available in digital format.
- Mar 1870-78 and 1885-1894 Not yet available in digital format.
- Bur 1841-1880 and 1882-1894 Not yet available in digital format.
Note although burial records show a date from 1841 there were many
gravestones that greatly predated that date.