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Winterburn Chapel

Winterburn Chapel-of-Ease circa 1933

A chapel is recorded in Winterburn from the 13th century, though the current building owes its existence to the dissenters of the 17th century. Roger Proctor lived at Coppercott and in his Will of 1517 he left 13s 4d for a "priest to sing for my soulle at Winterburn Chapel". It is thought that this chapel was in the area around Friars Head and St Helen's Well.

The Toleration Act of 1689 allowed dissenters from the Church of England to set up their own licensed meeting places and the Winterburn Independant Presbyterian chapel was originally founded in 1694 in the home of Thomas Walley. The building seen today dates from 1703 when Thomas Whalley decided “to build a house for God”, and it was completed in 1704 with the following named as trustees:


Sir  John  Middleton of  Calton, Bart. (Son in law of Barbara Lambert, daughter in law of General Lambert)
David  Yates of  Bordley, Gent 
William  Keighley of  Rylstone,Yeoman
Comberback Leech of  Calton, Clerk (Chaplain to  Sir  John  Middleton)

The chapel deed states that:


“the said  Thomas  Whalley did hereto purchase two cottages called Brigghouses and a parcel of land called  Brigg Garth and one of the said houses is demolished and a new edifice lately erected where it stood and the said Thomas Whalley is minded and disposed to settle the new- erected edifice to be a chapel, oratory, or meeting place for religious worship, upon trust to permit the same to be used and employed as a meeting place of a particular church or congregation of  Protestants dissenting from the Church of  England,  the minister or  Teacher to be an able  Protestant minister of the gospel, who, in his judgement and practice as to church discipline, is  Presbyterian …

The indenture conveying the chapel to the trustees stipulated that:


“ the minister ….to pray and preach  God’s word, administer the Sacraments of the New  Testament and perform all offices and duties belonging to that sacred function so as every such Minister etc. be orthodox and sound in the faith of the Lord  Jesus  Christ and such as hold and profess the  Doctrinal  Articles of the Church of  England”

In 1708 Mrs  Lambert left  £100 to Thomas Whalley and the Chapel Trustees, for the support of such a minister, and in 1711 a memorandum was added to the deed saying that if the congregation of Winterburn and Horton should agree to hold joint meetings in a more convenient place “which is much desired by Mrs  Lambert”, the trustees might convert the Winterburn  Chapel either into a dwelling house for the minister or to any other use for the benefit of the congregation. For a long time the Presbyterians held services at Winterburn and Horton alternately. 

Robert  Hesketh, the minister in 1720, was summoned to appear before the Court “for suffering the doors of the meeting house to be shut at the time of their meeting -- the said Robert  Hesketh being the teacher of the said meeting”.

The chapel was placed in the care of the  Skipton  Congregational  Chapel in 1848 and The Yorkshire Congregational  Year  Book reported “ This is one of the stations where from local circumstances, the population is frequently changing.  Mr  Richardson conducts service in the chapel every Sunday afternoon and for that purpose has to walk fourteen miles.  His average congregation is fifty.  In summer it is more, in winter it is less”.

In 1862 Mr Richardson appealed for donations towards the cost of renovation, saying “Winterburn  Chapel is situated in a thinly-populated district, the amount of the population in the radius of four miles being about 700.  The  Parish  Church is four miles distant and no place of worship nearer than three miles.  Attendance on  Sabbath days averages sixty-five.  Persons comprising the congregation are chiefly farm servants”.
The cost of renovation was £152.

When Mr Richardson retired in 1871 the Chapel closed and was later reopened by the vicar of Gargrave as a chapel-of-ease remaining in use until about 1896. In 1906 after an appeal for gifts of furnishings by Archdeacon Kilner it again reopened and was used until the latter half of the 20th century.

The chapel was held by the Trustees of the Yorkshire Congregational Union, it was listed Grade 2 in 1954 and eventually sold in the 1980s to be converted to a dwelling.

Much of the above information comes from the book Gargrave  Church and Parish External Website logo by Janet M Dinsdale, published 1966.  

Winterburn Chapel after conversion   
© Copyright John Illingworth and used under Creative Commons License External Website logo       

Chapel Records

There are few records known to exist, the Baptisms listed below are in The National Archives and included in the IGI. Latterly it was attached to Gragrave church and entries would have been made in the Gargrave Parish Registers.

Baptisms at Winterburn Chapel (1811-1826 & 1836)

Baptism date
Birth date
Waddington Elizabeth John and Mary 20 MAR 1811  
Waddington John John and Mary 04 FEB 1813  
Cook William Robert and Sarah 27 NOV 1815  
Cook Ann Robert and Sarah 27 AUG 1815  
Cook Mary Robert and Sarah 14 NOV 1818  
Thorp Richard Matthew and Mary 05 NOV 1818  
Waddington Elenor John and Mary 27 MAY 1818  
Birtwhistle Elizabeth Thomas and Ann 02 DEC 1819  
Edmondson Joseph Robert and Mary 01 JAN 1819  
Wotherup Robert Robert 27 OCT 1819  
Wharfe James John 23 DEC 1820  
Cook Isabella Robert and Sarah 26 AUG 1821  
Edmondson Henry Robert and Mary 01 OCT 1821  
Thorp Dorothy Matthew and Mary 09 MAR 1821  
Waddington Edward John and Mary 02 MAR 1821  
Wharfe John John 17 DEC 1821  
Blackburn Alice Thomas and Betty 13 MAR 1822  
Gregson Richard Richard and Martha 24 APR 1822  
Waddington Thomas Ann 27 JUN 1822 01 JUN 1822
Blackburn Thomasin Thomas and Alice 15 JAN 1823 04 NOV 1822
Cook Grace Robert and Sarah 19 NOV 1823 05 OCT 1823
Thorp Edward Matthew and Mary 15 SEP 1823 09 MAY 1823
Waddington Samuel John and Mary 27 APR 1823  
Wharfe Elizabeth John 20 MAR 1824  
Waddington James John and Mary 24 NOV 1825 27 OCT 1825
Cook Alice Robert and Sarah 30 APR 1826 07 APR 1826
Edmondson Robert Robert and Mary 23 APR 1826 03 APR 1826
Rawson Martha John and Mary 16 DEC 1826 25 NOV 1826
Barker Joseph Thomas and Margaret 08 AUG 1836 27 JUL 1836
Ingham Elizabeth James and Margaret 27 NOV 1836 08 NOV 1836


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