By Stanley Merridew
The lower part of the valley was part of the Otley Circuit whose records are housed at Leeds Archives.
Isaac Atkinson is credited with starting Methodism in Castley around 1820, although a record of a chapel can only be gleaned from the name Chapel Hill Lane. He was a tenant of Castley Hall farm and Castley Manor Farm. I understand Chapel Hill Lane was diverted when the railway came, so possibly the chapel was pulled down at the time. In 1851 the chapel census was signed by John Adamson.
From the Wesleyan Roll we can deduce the society was very active at this time judging by the number of names shown comprising the Dickinson, Hannam, Hutton, Mundell, Newby, Parker, Pickard & Rodgers families.
The village appears in the Keighley circuit records as early as 1760. However, it is not until 1776 that the house of Joseph Mawson was licensed for preaching. The applicants were Lee, Harrison, Brown, White and Rayner. Later in 1799 the home of Robert Walker was licensed. On this occasion the applicants were Potts, Brown, Stead, Richie and Armistead. The chapel was erected in 1826. The land was bought from John Stead and the cost was met by loans over many years from J Taylor of Weeton, W Clapham, T Renton and William Rodgers.
At the time of the religious census in 1851 the steward was Joseph Kendall. The following signed the Wesleyan Roll: Job Gill, Grace A Morrell, Joseph Kendall, Robert Kendall and several members of the Fearnside family who are shown as “of York, lately of Leathley.
The village is mentioned in
the circuit records as early as 1785 although the chapel was not built until
1836, Licensed in the name of John Gill. He appears in the Wesleyan Roll as “In
memoriam – a faithful Methodist of the old school.” Also listed is John Morrell, “In memoriam – One of the most
earnest & devout Christians the Circuit has ever known,” plus Alfred Ingle and members of the Hutton & Wood families, including William Wood, shown as steward &
leader. The Religious census of 1851 was
completed by Samuel Roundell. The chapel records 1836 to 1975 are held at Leeds
There appears to be no record of a chapel at Lindley. However, James Myers, “Eventide Review of Primitive Methodism in the Otley Circuit”, published 1920, mentions regular services held originally in the home of Rupert & Hannah Young at Lindley Wood and later in the farmhouse of the Davies family.
The hamlet appears in the early records but it was not
until 1903 that a chapel was erected. George
& Ada Carver, James &
Christopher Crabtree, William Dale & Mary Halliday appear in
the Wesleyan Roll as of “Clifton.” Mary Halliday
is noted as having saved her guinea in threepenny bits. Northallerton hold the marriage register for
The chapel opened on 1920 and is still in use today. However the
Methodist cause was evident
for many years previously.
W F Seals, “Methodism in the Otley Circuit” 1974, mentions services held at the home of Mrs Davy from 1856. This could be George & Jane Davy who were living at Brass Castle in 1851 but had moved to Leas Bank Hall by 1861. By the turn of the century the Wesleyans were using the old banqueting hall at Norwood Hall, the home of the Smith and Shepherd families.
The Primitive Methodists held open air meetings at Sword Point in the middle of the nineteenth century and also at Bride Cross House above Dob Park Bridge. The Wesleyan Roll shows – Robert Smith of Norwood Bottom, “Steward, leader, upwards of 40 years ministers & local preachers have been welcomed in his house. Norwood would be poor indeed without this family.” Other members of his family are also listed along with Jesse & Ann Wall.