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Edgworth Methodist Church - Circa 1883

------- SERVICES--------

10:00am Every Sunday
Sunday Club 10:00am Every Sunday
Choir Practice 7:30pm Friday
(new singers always welcome)

Prayer & Bible study meeting
(in members homes every other Wednesday)

Music group (all ages)
(meets to rehearse for worship as required)


The Dedication and Opening Service of the present Church took place on Sunday, 24th July, 1883, but owing to the necessary improvements of installing electricity and heating services, re-decoration of the premises, and other minor factors, it was not possible to arrange any celebrations until the month of October in the Centenary year.

The Centenary Committee had made every effort to arrange some service or event to cater for the pleasure of all our friends, young and old, past and present, and the Committee offerered a sincere invitation to everybody to help celebrate the event of our church arriving at the one hundredth milestone of our journey.

At the inception of our celebrations we would affectionately remember our benefactors and long serving workers who would have been called from earthly life during the century. We would also remember the members of our congregation and Sunday School who sacrificed their lives and limbs for our country in the two World Wars.

In addition the Centenary Committee desires to sincerely thank all old friends and worshippers who have helped us to achieve our success, especially the Ministers who have in the past been known to many of our congregation, some of whom have willingly agreed to return and conduct the services in the Centenary year.

Finally, a word of thanks to the Revd. Tom T. Williams, who was with us from 1956 to 1968, for his kindness to all who had the pleasure to know him, or work with him. Also Mrs Williams for her work with the ladies of the congregation. The Centenary Committee especially thank our Minister for his assistance and guidance as our Chairman in the Centenary celebrations.

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Edgworth Methodist Church - 2002


Historical Notes

(Transcripts of articles written for the Three in One magazine at Edgworth Methodist Church during their Bi-Centenary Year, 1993 by Margaret Higson.)

There is no exact date for the start of a Methodist Society in Edgworth, people would travel many miles to hear a notable preacher and then return to their homes and relate his message to friends in their cottages. The earliest date we have is 1771 when a contribution of 7/6d was sent from Edgworth to the quarter Board in Liverpool. It is surmised that this could be a contribution from one or two families who had declared themselves Methodists in the village.

John Wesley made several visits to Bolton and Darwen. Travelling between these towns in 1780 he stopped to address workmen who were re-building Wayoh Bridge. We gave a record of a Mrs. Dearden and Miss Alice Mitchell hearing Mr. Wesley preach in Wayoh Lodge Farm Yard. He also preached at Holden farm.

All these records show no definite society in Edgworth, just small groups, perhaps linked with the Bolton Circuit, meeting in houses. It was in 1793 that a minister named Blackett came with some ministers from Haslingdon to Mission in Edgworth. "He commenced meetings in various cottages including the cottage in the Nursery. A little later a Sunday School was held at Tarkington's, a farm on the South side of Entwistle Reservoir and in 1802 a regular fortnightly meeting was being held there on Sunday afternoons. In 1805 there was a Methodist Sunday School held there on Sunday afternoons. The use of cottages near the stone mill at top o'th' Holme, Turton Bottoms, were also acquired, and in 1810 two places appeared on the Bolton plan called Edgworth and Bottoms." (Centenary Celebrations handbook 1928).

Blackett's Mission marked the start of regular worship and Sunday School work in Edgworth - this was the reason for our Bi-Centenary Celebrations in 1993 which marked not just the bicentenary of our church building - that was dedicated in 1863 - nor of our former Sunday School Building, which was also used as a chapel dedicated in 1828. Far more important than any building we were celebrating two hundred years of Methodist Witness in Edgworth.

The scattered method of worship continued until 1813 when Bridge Buildings (now the White Horse) was used for regular and apparently lively services. The cellar of the building was used by the owners, the Horrocks family, for hand-loom weaving. The ground floor was their home. A set of outside steps led to the first floor where services were held. Printing, was carried out in an attic room, but when that business was removed to Darwen the attic was used as Sunday School and a hole cut in the floor so the children, numbering about 300, could listen to the service.

We are quite fortunate in having a wealth of historical documents which give us quite an insight into the early days of Methodism. On September 23rd 1893 the church celebrated its centenary. A hand written document records speeches made at a reunion of past and present scholars and provides us with an insight into Edgworth life in the middle of the nineteenth century.

A Mr. Joshua Fortune recalls events in a print works where drunkenness was rife and the works tried to cheat excise men from collecting the tax of 4/3d. on every piece of printed cloth. When someone came to investigate from London the works was shut down with one partner escaping to America and the other put in Lancaster Castle. The women of Teapot Row were renowned for visiting each others houses after their men had gone to work. They carried bread and butter and "A sops of something to put in their tea!"


An important part of the life of the early Methodist Church in Edgworth was the Tea Meeting. Great details are recorded in a leather bound hand written minute book of the Sunday School Committee dating back to 1837.

Tea Meetings were held on a variety of occasions including Shrove Tuesday, Turton Fair, Christmas Day and even New Year's Day. During the Nineteenth Century there would have been very little in the way of entertainment apart from the pubs, so it appears that the church would provide a social gathering to try and bring people away from drink.

The minutes record details of all the people and the jobs they did to prepare for the meeting. On Shrove Tuesday 23rd February, 1841 it is recorded that 130 persons attended a Tea Meeting. Tickets were sold at 6d each, but waiters went free! Tea was on the table at 6 o'clock. They ate through 42lbs of plain bread, 44lbs of currant bread which was spread with 8lbs of butter, They drank through 13 gallons of tea which was brewed with 2ozs of tea to each gallon and sweetened with 10lbs of sugar! The room was lit with 2lbs of candles. The profit of 5/8d was given to the School.

The meeting began with singing and a prayer. During the meeting the scholars would recite a task and "every half hour while saying the tasks they will sing an hymn". The tasks recorded include James Bromily "The Happy Man", Rachel Becket "The Happy Child", George Booth and Jane Fielding "On Swearing", Alice Entwistle "Sulky Tempers", Jane Clough "Dear Lord Remember Me" and Eliza and Charles Scott "Dialogue on Sunday School"

It was noted from an 1842 Tea Meeting that "20 tasks were said under two hours and we had singing four times between. We began singing and prayer at 10 minutes past six and concluding the same at 1/4 past 8. A good meeting, the best we have had in some respects, the pieces were short".

The jobs that were allocated to the organisers included fetching water, brewing the tea,

"We may reckon about 1/4oz tea to a gallon of water provided we use Floqua's mixture and put it to brew five hours before using. The best way of making the tea is to have four mings and put 5ozs of tea in each to brew 5 hours in one quart of water then add when about to use it 7 gallons of boiling water to each ming keeping them covered until one ming is used." People sliced the bread, others buttered it. Tickets were sold before hand, people stood on the door collecting tickets while others "accommodated friends and made themselves generally useful."

According to many church-goers in Wesley's time there was always singing at their gatherings, in contrast to the solemnity of the church services - hence the phrase that Methodism was "Born in Song". Bolton Methodists were renowned for their singing.

There is an entry in Wesley's diary for July 27th 1787 that he requested the Sunday School to sing to him, ". . such harmony as I believe could not be equalled in the King's Chapel".

Edgworth also has a wealth of information about the history of its music making recorded in its archive materials. As mentioned in an earlier part of this brief history the first large meeting house for Methodists was in what is now the White Horse pub. The services there also had a reputation for their hearty singing. The hymns would have been unaccompanied and largely dependent on a leader who would select a tune with a suitable metre from a book of tunes provided by Wesley, like Select Harmony which was published in 1780 as a companion to Wesley's Hymn Book "A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists". Later editions of this hymn book had a tune assigned to it so dispensing with the need for two books.

Our oldest records give details of Sunday School Committee Meetings and their selection of hymns for the Annual Sermons. The first recorded hymn is the one "Praise we the Lord. 'tis good to raise our hearts and voices in his praise". There are many notes on choirs and singers throughout our history, but did they all use printed tune books?

One entry in 1863 records a decision by the building committee to purchase "Chant books and board" so giving me the image of hymns being put up on boards in front of he congregation - but could they all read? We have in our possession a book entitled "A collection of chants for the daily and proper psalms" but as it was published in 1859 this probably won't be the one alluded in our minutes.

It was at the end of 1991 when we were clearing out the church prior to its renovations- that I discovered some great treasures. For many years now I have sat on that organ seat totally unaware I was aloft some important pieces of musical history. Opening the sliding door in the seat I saw a pile of what appeared to be dirty tatty bits of paper and books.

The following Sunday, armed with a black dustbin liner, I went and collected them all up with a view to putting them in the dustbin. Fortunately I decided to have a glance through the "rubbish" and to my amazement found four copies of what turned out to be manuscript hymn books - one soprano, one tenor and two bass. All are very well used with carefully manuscript parts starting with Old Hundred at number 1. There were also local names to tunes like Tottington and Halliwell. Writing to the Rev. Wilfrid Little (aged 91) who is a Hymnody expert I received a detailed explanation of these "hymn books". In his letter he commented: "Many of the precentors did not restrict themselves to Wesley's repertoire and, if competent, compiled their own Manuscript collection. You have one of these at Edgworth - how fortunate you are". So choir members would be using their own manuscript hymn books with a very limited number of tunes to sing in harmony - and our copies have been VERY well used!

Mr. Little also goes onto comment about some local musicians who could write their own tunes and then have them printed. Again we have such a local publication in the form of Edgworth Melodies, a collection of tunes by William Hough, (related to Mrs. Karn) each one named after a local spot in Edgworth like "Old Russia" or "Jumbles".

Numerous references are made to the choir. At a trustees meeting in 1899 it was recorded that ".... the best thanks of the meeting be forwarded to the Organist, Deputy organist and choir for their efficient services in the Chapel".

In 1912 six applications were receive for the job of choirmastership. The Trustees decided that "... £16 per annum should be given for choirmaster and deputy organist combined; choir practices should be weekly and that the choirmaster appointed, in addition to these practices, would be expected to help with extraordinary services as Flower services and the Annual Christmas gathering". So things don't change much - except they earned £16 more than today's organists!

However in 1944 things were not as praiseworthy for the Choir as a disciplinary letter was sent to all members outlining that future membership was dependent upon: ".…Reasonable attendance at Choir practice and reasonable regular attendance at Church Services'

The Barlow Family

The Barlow Family had a great influence on the Methodist Church and the establishment of Crowthorn School. Much is recorded of the family's activities in our archives and elsewhere so this is just a very small insight into their lives.

James Barlow was born in 1821 the son of a hand loom weaver employing weavers from their own home. In 1845 he moved to Bolton, Barlow and Jones Ltd., one of the first steam- powered mills. Many handloom weavers were hostile to this move but his fairness to his employees soon stifled the opposition. In 1857 he built Greenthorne Estate which was to be used for many gatherings both of his workers, the Methodist Church and National Children's Home and Orphanage, as it was then known.

The first record we have in our archives of James Barlow is as Chairman of the Sunday School Committee on April 21st 1845. From then there are numerous records of his attendance at meetings arranging Sermons and Tea Meetings in particular. In 1859 it is recorded that he was one of the Edgworth Trustees under the New Deed. In this capacity he did much to help with the planning and building of the present Methodist Church and Manse, subscribing £1,150 towards the total cost of £3,500 building costs.

Among many other concerns were his constant efforts to try and improve social conditions. He strove to improve housing conditions for the weavers, fought to secure the opening of the Bolton Parks on Sundays, aided the Coffee House movement and was active member of the Temperance Society.

In 1871 he purchased the Wheatsheaf Inn - an Inn of ill repute with gambling and cock-fighting. This, along with a monetary gift of £5,000, he gave to Dr. Stephenson and so was established the First National Children's Home outside London.

He died in 1887. At his memorial service the Rev J. Denholm Brash said:- "He served his generation in rescuing poor little children..... It was a beautiful sight to see the children gather with glee around one who had been a father to them."

His children were to continue the tradition of the family doing much for Methodism in the village and beyond. One of his sons, John, was soon appointed to the Trustees and became the Treasurer. Thomas trained to be a doctor later becoming royal physician to both Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. Although living in London he was one of the Edgworth Trustees maintaining his interest in the village.

One of his daughters "Miss Annie" did much work with the youth of the village. In a scrapbook are numerous letters she wrote to the Sunday School parents keeping them informed of various events and exhorting them to attend! One such example written in 1911 is: "Dear Friend, The Primary children are going next Saturday March 4th to the Workhouse to carry their bulbs to the sick people. They will go by the 1.20pm train from Turton, fare 3d. Please let the children bring their own provisions in a little parcel."

In 1935 the memorial in the form of the oak panelling behind the communion rail was dedicated in memory of the Barlow Family. This was completed by subscription at a cost of around £80. Mr. H.D. Smedley wrote:- "They were ever ready to use every influence they possessed for the welfare of others, always thinking of others and planning for their good.... The children, the youths and the maidens were their chief care. They considered the young people among the chief assets of the nation and they felt that time and thought spent on them would bring back the largest return of good, not only in this generation but in generations that follow."

Tom Benson writing about Miss Annie Barlow stated:- "I owe everything I am or hope to be to Miss Annie. You know that in the slippery paths of youth when it was much easier to slip down than to rise up, she it was who took us in hand when nobody else would, and tried to shape our lives into something useful".

The Flower Mission

Material in our archives record the importance of the flower mission within the church and beyond. There are several mentions of the children in the Sunday School being encouraged to bring flowers to service for distribution later. This information is frequently recorded in letters from Miss Barlow to parents.

l3th July,1910. - "On Saturday next the Primary Children are coming up to the garden at Greenthorne to have a picnic. If it is a regular deluge you will be afraid to send the children; if it is fine or only a little wet we shall be very glad to see.

We take this opportunity of telling you that our Primary School Birthday will be celebrated on 24th July. It is four years since we started the Primary Department and we shall be so glad to have both mothers and fathers with us to thank God together and pray for his blessing on the work we are trying to do.

We shall make this Birthday Anniversary into our Annual Flower Service as well, so if the children each bring a few flowers it will be nice for them to know they are helping to make some poor sick child at the infirmary happier by their gifts.

In another letter instructions are given for growing a bulb. "November 1910" We are going to give each little girl and boy a bulb next Sunday to grow at home. The older ones will be trusted with one to grow for the poor old people in the Infirmary as well. Would you mind sending a pot full of soil next Sunday. An old jam jar will do - tho' not quite so good as a plant pot."

The bulbs obviously grew as in a February 1911 another letter was sent telling parents:- "The Primary Children are going next Saturday 4th March to the workhouse to carry their bulbs to the sick people. They will go by the 1.30pm train from Turton, fare 3d. We are having tea at the Victoria Wesleyan School.

The local bluebells were picked for distribution as is recorded in a cautionary letter:- "Do you think the children could bring some bluebells to Sunday School on Sunday. I fear they will be over in another week and we would like to have some to the sick children before they are all gone. Don't let them trespass or get into trouble gathering them, but there are plenty to be had without this I think".

At the 1911 Coronation Procession the mothers were exhorted to:- .…make the procession gay by letting their children carry baskets of flowers …we will have some coloured ribbons to tie to the baskets or bunches of flowers".

We are indebted to the late, Mr. Bentley for compiling a scrap book on "Village Doings" - without these we would have very little recorded of the importance of flowers in the Church.

Flowers continue to play an important role within our Church life as they are a symbol of the churches care and concern for people, sharing times of happiness and sadness, showing that we care and are thinking about them. Letters and verbal messages to the church telling us how much the flowers have meant stress the importance of the Flower Mission which carries on a tradition laid down at the turn of the Century, if not earlier.


The first Sermons were held in 1808. As the Methodists did not have large enough building they used Winders Independent Chapel. This was apparently an upper room across cottages in Crown Point. (When this was no longer used as a Chapel it reverted to being a series of cottages). This service was led by the Revd. George Marsden, the Superintendent Minister of the Bolton Circuit. However in the end the crowd was so large that the service was held in the open. Comments on the success and the lasting impression that this service had on people appear in the archives. At this time the Sunday Schools not only provided Religious Instruction but also a basic education for the children, teaching them to read and write. They were often the only places that poor people could receive any form of education.

From these beginnings Sunday School Sermons developed and have always been a highlight in the churches' year in Edgworth. A pattern developed which in later years resulted in adults being brought in from surrounding churches to augment the choir; girls, dressed in white, formed the little singers and a preacher invited to give a rousing sermon at the evening service. At some point during the day there would be the procession round the village which was both a witness to the Lord and also an opportunity to include people who were unable to attend the celebrations at church. Originally they were called "Charity Sermons" as one aim was to raise money for the work in the Sunday School.

A minute book of the School Committee Meetings from 1837 goes into great detail about the arrangements for Sermons, the hymns they chose, the procession and arrangements for feeding everybody!!

On March 25th 1837 we have the first recorded Sermon preparations. It was minuted that "they sing out of hymn books". Also that "there be got from John Taylor one strike of malt for the singers while practising and brewed at Richard Crooks." (So much to tee-total Methodists!!!) Dinner and Supper for the men were to be taken at Alice Tailors to which the following provisions were to be sent:-12lbs plain bread, 6 pennyworth of oatcakes, 6lb of cheese, 10lb flour, 1 1/2lb new butter, 10lb veal, 8lb beef and 1 shilling’s worth of salleting (salad). By contrast the girl singers only had 17lb of plain bread, 3lb currant bread, 1/2lb tea, 3lb butter and 1 1/2 quarts of cream!

Similar decisions were made each year for the rest of the century. What was quite astounding was the number of hymns sheets that were printed - 500 each service. How did they fit everybody in?

A detailed report of the 1842 Sermons held on 3rd July records:- "The day was favourable. The scholars met in school for HALF PAST SEVEN TO EIGHT O'CLOCK. Two down each side began to collect the boys and girls money and book it into the class books, the doors being shut while collecting, then two stood collecting at the door from latecomers. When they had collected from one class it was immediately after served with currant bread and coffee. (NB This was not well managed. Every teacher should sit still in the class and keep order and never move out, there is so much lightness if not watched) and two others should serve down each side with coffee and bread.

We gave them the pots before filling them, but it is better filling them before giving them the pots. Before taking coffee a blessing was asked and after thanks was given. I should mention that the teachers should take the coffee at the same time with the scholars and not go into the vestry to have it while the scholars are left to themselves. After saying a prayer we began to arrange the scholars in the yard for walking, not an easy matter to please all in this. We walked down to Mr. Millingtons, every teacher paying attention to his class, where we sang one hymn and then another at Henry Horrock's and came back and sang opposite Ashworths and Greaves and then at Mr. Walsh's also at Four Lane Ends and White Horse from thence we went to the school and Joshua Fortune read a tract called "The Collier Boy And His Candle Box" and made some remarks upon it, a feeling time. After a short prayer the scholars were dismissed. In the afternoon Mr. Wilcox from Rochdale preached from Acts 2 v.39 and in the evening from Acts 1 v.3 Two good sermons. Collections £27/6/8 3/4d for which we feel thankful to God".

Sunday School work in Edgworth started in cottages, one being at the Nursery at Greenthorne, the Barlows also ran a dame school. In 1802 there was a Sunday School at Tarkington run by two elderly men, James Lomas and Thomas Holt. To accommodate all the people it was held in the morning and the afternoon.

In 1805 Thomas Holt lead a zealous band of men and women in a Sunday School at Hob Lane. "The children brought their dinners with them and the Superintendent, in order to look after them, likewise brought his, which consisted of two large dumplings. He would look round to see if any other children had not sufficient, and, if not, he would cut them each a slice."

In 1816 the preacher at the Charity Sermons was the Rev. Robert Spencer. It is recorded that there were 300 scholars in the Sunday School, 70 of whom were being taught to read and write.

In 1828 the Old Sunday School building was opened to serve as both a church and Sunday School. It was from here that many Sermons Day Processions, set out to walk around the village. A tradition that was to carry on into the 1980's.

This year Sermons will be held on 20th June. As part of our Bicentenary Celebrations, we will be processing around the village prior to our morning service. We will meet at the church at 9.45am and be led by a local band. The morning family service will be led by our own Minister, the Revd. Paul Davis, with singing by the Sunday School. At the Evening service we welcome the Chairman of the District, the Revd. David B. Reddish, to preach the sermon. During the service the choir will be singing an old anthem sung at a Choir Reunion on l5th September, 1907 and also a more modern hymn.

History of Edgworth Music

Methodism is reputed to have been Born in Song, as the early Methodists were always singing - in stark contrast to the solemnity of the Church's services. Edgworth Methodists, it appears also had this reputation as recorded in our archive material.

Around 1810 James March and his wife had a Sunday School School in a cottage, the Holmes, at Turton Bottoms. The factory workers had the reputation for singing "Worldly and lewd songs". In an effort to change this James March exchanged their ballad papers for a copy of Watts Divine and Moral Songs. "A treat change took place not only in the substitution of the sacred melodies for the songs then popular, but also in the religious impressions produced by then, and in opening the way for the world for the work which followed in the Sunday Schools."

On October 30th 1893 William King dictated a long letter to Mr. James Barlow which records many wonderful references to the music when services were held in the Bridge Buildings.

Before any instruments were used to lead the worship there was a singing Master, the first recorded being Mr. George Scholes. He wrote many hymn tunes including one named "Bridge Buildings" to the words of "Lord Dismiss us with Thy Blessing". (Does anybody happen to have a copy of this?….if so please telephone Margaret Higson on 01204 852538. The next singing Master, Henry Ainsworth, was described in his obituary as "a local Handel"

A few years later "it was thought to be desirable to have some kind of music and connected with the Chapel was a man named James Booth who was able to play the cello but as he hadn't got one, one was purchased for him and the introduction thereof into the service, was considered a great acquisition."

The next instrument was an octave Flute played by William King. It is no wonder that services in Bridge Buildings were considered to be "lively" with the combination of instruments and up to 300 people from the outline neighbourhood coming to worship each Sunday.

In the I830 two rival band sprang up in the village, one at Giles Ashworths Print Works and the other at Quarlton Vale. Great debates were initiated as to which was the most proficient! A woman who took the side of the Quarlton Band, is recorded as commenting that "Our band can play owt, but Giles band can play nowt but pom, pom, pom and tae tae tae." At William IV Coronation the main bands went to play in the town processions - this left only a scratch band to lead the village scholar's as they processed through Edgworth!

When services were held in the Old Sunday School Building the singing was led by up to a dozen was instrumentalists "2 each of cellos, bassoons, basshorns, 1 each serpent, trumpet, trombone, trumpet bugle and three clarinets with about twenty singers in the choir." We have copies of some well used manuscripted hymn books which may have been in use at this time by the choir. The melody for each line of music has been carefully transcribed so there is a separate book for soprano, tenor and bass. Unfortunately we do not have a Copy of the alto book. According to the Hymn Society we are most fortunate in having copies of these hymn books which are unique to us. Not only do they contain well known tunes such as Old Hundred but also - and this makes them special - local tunes such as Tottington and Halliwell.

Organs or Harmoniums in the local churches were unheard of until Turton Church installed a Seraphine which was played by Mr. Greves. The first organ in the neighbourhood was at Mr. Gill's chapel at Egerton. Our present organ was installed in 1896 at the cost of £190.

From these beginnings our singing tradition developed. A Sunday School Minute book great details are recorded of the hymns and singers for the Annual Sermons. The first hymns that were chosen for the l837 Sermons were:- Praise Ye The Lord, Its Good To Raise, Ye Virgin Souls Arise, Jesus The Conqueror Reigns and Love Divine. It became a tradition that people came to special practices for the Sermons from surrounding churches such as Entwistle. This, in turn, was reciprocated when it came to their Sermons.

At various points in the Trustees Minute references are made to organists and choirmasters. In 1899 to Trustees recorded the "best thanks of the meeting be forwarded to the organist, deputy and choir for their efficient services in the chapel." A few years later the choir was in disgrace!" It appears they were not coming regularly to service and so, to be a choir members they had to sign to say they would attend worship regularly! In 1904 Mr. William Hough was appointed organist. He wrote a number of hymn tunes, again named after local areas, and had them published as Edgworth Melodies" - another unique addition to our musical heritage. His grave, to the South of the chapel, has his melody "Abide With Me" inscribed on it.

In 1908 the choirmaster had a salary rise from £14 per annum to £16! (£16 more than the present incumbent!) In 1912 Mr. Hough resigned and his post advertised. The Trustees agreed to pay £16 for a combined Choirmaster and organist or £8 each if separate. The job description laid down that "choir practices should be weekly and that the choirmaster appointed, in addition to these practices, would be expected to help with extraordinary services such as Flower services and the annual Christmas gathering. As a result of this advertisement six people applied and Mr. John Greenhalgh was appointed. Over the years there have always been organists at Edgworth. It is hard to see when there when there was no choir to lead worship, however, within living memory the choir lapsed. It was reformed in 1976 and has carried on the traditions as laid down in the 1912 minutes.

The current Musical Director and Organist is Margaret Higson

Festivities and Fund-raising

Throughout all our records there is the constant reminder that our church needed finances to maintain its Ministry in the Village - and of course this carries on today. This has always been achieved in a variety of ways, but mainly through regular giving at the Sunday Services and organised events.

One of the biggest money-raisers for many years was the "Sale of Work". These were often held on a large scale, spread over several days, involving many hours of preparation throughout the year making things to sell.

We have details of a May Day Bazaar held in 1907 at which a profit of £777/15/8d was made, was made quite a total for an event held 86 years ago. It lasted for three days. On Wednesday 1st May there was a grand opening ceremony by Major H.M. Hardcastle of Bradshaw Hall. Stalls were run by the Sewing Meeting, Young Women of the Sunday Class, Sisters of the Children's Home and Young Class Girls. Teas and Suppers were provided by the Young Women of the School and friends. The aim was to raise £400 to repair the Chapel Roof and Organ, to provide a new heating system and some improvements to the school. As it can be seen this aim was almost doubled! This information was obtained from a "Directory and Choice Quotations" booklet which was on sale at 6d. Choice quotations include a lengthy discourse on "What a barrel of whisky contains!" "Good deeds are ever beautiful" and "The glory is not in the task but in the doing of it for Him". This bazaar appears to typify the fund raising over many years, smaller events such as concerts, social evenings, At Homes and Tea Meetings were held before hand to raise money towards the big event.

Other small-scale events were also held to raise money for Missionary work and Charities. Children from The Home would give concerts to raise money for the Young Leaguers Union and the Medic Bullock Wagon. In 1911 such a concert raised £4/8/4d for each Charity. Tickets were sold at three prices, Reserved seats 2/-. First Seats 1/- and second seats 6d. Sweets and ' Marmalades were on sale.

l5th June 1912 saw a Grand Missionary Pageant at Greenthorne to celebrate the Centenary of the Wesleyan Foreign Missionary Society. A great deal of work must have gone into the preparations for this event which included "a procession of decorated wagons. Missionary scenes in Native Costume on the lawn, brass Band, stalls and Plain Teas at 6d - Meat and fruit extra! Newspaper reports estimated that over 1,000 people from all around the neighbourhood attended the pageant.

Money was raised from Church Members by charging Pew Rents, Class Money as well as by special collections. In 1926 a Congregational Meeting was held to discuss the introduction of an envelope system to replace the other charges. This system was considered fairer as Members were asked to consider what they could give on a regular weekly basis rather than have a uniform charge made on everybody. This system was accepted and the financial report for 1927 commended it and all its benefits having raised over £175 in its first year. The Envelope System continues today and is still the backbone of our income.

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Ministers of Edgworth Methodist Church

1920 (3 months)


Revd. T. Moorhouse Thorpe
Albert Clayton
Thomas Penrith
Alfred Wells
W.D.L. Slack
William E. Codling
George Woodcock
J. Denholme Brash
W.B. Fitzgerald
W. Barlow Brown
George Byrom
Fred Stuart Kirkness
C.W. Martin
John Pollitt
A.B. Pinnegar
George Davies
Revd. John Scale
R.H. Parry
T.A. Lindsay
Robert Armstrong
Roland E. Parker
J. Cannell Harrison
Harold E. Proctor
Eugene B. Robin
E.D. Clipson
George Daniels
David Pike
J.B. Pillnger
Frank Myers
Revd. Tom T. Williams
Revd. Fred Andrews
Revd. David Roberts
Revd. Tom Witham
Revd. Paul Davis
Revd. John Butterfield
Revd. David G. Hamflett
Revd. Gerald Broadbent BA
Revd. Jim Henderson

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Thanks go to Margaret Higson for most of the above text which was extracted from transcripts of articles written by her in 1993 for the Three in One magazine at Edgworth Methodist Church during their Bi-Centenary Year.



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Church Steward - L. Mather 01204 
Church Steward - . 01204 
Secretary -  01204 
Minister - Rev Jim Henderson 01204 521147
Musical Director/Organist - Margaret Higson 01204 852538

The Standard MIDI File now playing is entitled "Clair De Lune" by Debussy and is the copyright of Dave Smith

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