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| Rimington & Middop | Paythorne


Descendants of Robert Dodgson

The Methodists of Paythorne

The Intriguing History of Paythorne's Ribble Stepping Stones

Paythorne What's in a Name?


Quick Links To Chapters

Introduction | Church Council Membership 1979-80 | The Methodists of Paythorne and Paythorne What's in a Name? | Travelling Preachers | John Wesley in Paythorne? and Legal Documents | The Skipton and Clitheroe Circuits and The New Chapel | Sunday School Reminiscences and Village Decline | Clitheroe Circuit and Rise and Fall | George Hargreaves and Success at Last | Misleading Statistics! and High Water and Centenary Celebrations | 50 More Years | And the Future... and References |


50 More Years

It is (almost) fifty years since those centenary celebrations and what has happened to the Society in those years years in which so much has changed in the world generally?

Soon after the centenary the trustees were considering the possibility of adding a vestry, porch and 'pail closet' and a drawing was prepared to show this. A fund was set up for the work and by 1937, when this amounted to £54, the trustees thought that some land behind the Chapel should be purchased. However, "the friends at Paythorne .... said the time was not opportune" and the idea was postponed  in fact from that time it was necessary to gradually use the savings to pay the running costs of the Chapel.

The decline of the society resulted particularly from changes in farm tenancies and ownership  most evident when the Lund family left the village and the Chapel therefore had no Sunday School superintendent, secretary and treasurer, no caretaker, no organist, no Chapel steward and no poor steward! About the same time George Hargreaves died and George Lambert had to resign as society steward and trust secretary due to his own poor health.

By 1940 services were reduced to fortnightly and the following year the Sunday School was abandoned. Only 2 members remained and no services were held in the winter of 1941/2  an equally dark period in the life of this country. With a view to the Chapel being sold, an inventory was then prepared. This was presented to the trustees at a meeting which was also, by chance, the first one attended by William Hanson  George Hargreaves son-in-law. William Hanson lived in Clitheroe and was not a trustee, but had been invited to the meeting to bring George Hargreaves' minute and account books. After the meeting the superintendent, Rev. G. Boyd Macgarr, asked Mr. Hanson to look after those books again "until the future of the Chapel is decided"  he is still looking after those books, and their successors, now!

Rather than close the Chapel, the trust decided early in 1942 to ask the circuit local preachers to hold monthly evening services during the summer. Only two services per year were actually held  the Harvest and the Anniversary of a non-existent Sunday School  until 1948 when, very quietly, two people began working for the reopening of the Sunday School.

No society could survive on the basis of only two services per year but Margaret Hargreaves (a daughter of George Hargreaves) believed that a Methodist Society should exist at Paythorne and she also believed that the need and the opportunity were there. She then began what was, in a very real sense, home missions work in the village. Margaret Hargreaves lived in Clitheroe but began making visits to the farms in Paythorne to talk to both parents and children about their needs and her beliefs, to ask for support in the reopening of the school and chapel, and subsequently inviting all the children to come along to Sunday School. She was supported in this work by a friend who visited the village every day, George Harrop from Clitheroe, who was the Paythorne village postman. On his rounds of the village he was able to back up the the work already begun, and as a result of the efforts the Sunday School reopened in June 1949 with seven scholars present. From this small start, so uncertain in many ways, the present society has developed and matured. The Sunday School was at first held weekly and soon monthly services were also started, an arrangement which continued until 1953 when the services became fortnightly. Ten years later the Sunday School also became fortnightly, to alternate with the services. In the early days the teachers in the Sunday School Were Vivienne Whiting (of Gisburn), Margaret Hargreaves and her sister Ethel Hanson.

At first Margaret Hargreaves and Ethel Hanson travelled to the Sunday School by bus from Clitheroe to Gisburn, they then walked to Paythorne where in cold weather the small paraffin heater in the Chapel provided both warmth for the school and was the only means of making a warm drink (electricity was installed in the Chapel by Rev. James Wright in 1952). The journeys by bus and on foot continued until 1953 when William Hanson became able to provide transport for the teachers  but perhaps inevitably, as an experienced teacher he soon helped out 'just for once', then twice 9 then regularly  in fact until 1974 when he and Mrs. Hanson retired (Mrs. Hanson having served as a teacher and Sunday School secretary for 25 years). During the 31 years since the Sunday School first reopened, representatives of several families, some long established in the village, others among the newcomers to the area, and including at least four former scholars, have taken part in the teaching. The mixture of 'newt and gold' families is also shown in the list of present officers (see page 2)  equally the addresses of those officers show the wide area from which the congregations are drawn and also show the continuing character of Paythorne itself  the same farm names again reappearing, Higher House, Loftrans, Englands Head  a list that could almost certainly be extended if, in the past, precise addresses of members within Newsholme had been noted. It would be tempting to pick out for comment individual names and families among both the officers and others whose names appear on the community roll, but thankfully the work at Paythorne is widely spread, so many people contributing to the work of the Church in all its aspects, whether by holding a particular office or in a less formal way  perhaps caring for the building, perhaps helping at the harvest social, or of course by attending the Sunday School.

The highlight of the Sunday School year at Paythorne  indeed one of the highlights of the year in the Chapel generally, has for many years been the Anniversary when the scholars and local congregation have been joined by friends from other areas  at first travelling on a hired bus from Clitheroe. As with most Sunday Schools, the scholars have often taken an active part in the services in many ways  indeed over the years one of the achievements of the society has been the extent of the unconcerned informal participation of the children in the services.

From time to time links with the rest of the circuit have also been strengthened by events in Paythorne, such as the two occasions when the circuit quarterly meeting was held in the Chapel, or much more informally, as at Good Friday youth rallies  remembered perhaps for a wide range of reasons, even for the occasion when the field adjoining the Chapel was used for a sort-of-football match. Perhaps the superintendent minister at that time would not wish to be reminded of his enthusiastic and effective if highly unconventional goalkeeping  a prelude to going into the Chapel and speaking equally effectively and forcefully at the rally service!

The numbers in the Sunday School have never been large  typically about 10 scholars, although this rose to about 20 in the late 1950S  quite enough to make a notable impact in the circuit Festivals of Youth (sharing first place with Chatburn in the first year the festival competitions were held), to make plenty of noise on the annual outing to the Trinity Christmas pantomime in Clitheroe and (more seriously) to form a useful, lively Sunday School which, hopefully, will lead the children into full active membership of their Church.

As in most societies there have, over the years, been many changes but also a regular pattern of events

  • an annual open air service is held on the first Sunday in August at the caravan site near the Chapel, about 100 people usually being present at this service.

  • the Chapel has been licensed for Marriages, at the request of the first lucky couple, Rosemary Peel (a former scholar) and Walter Robinson.

  • to raise funds, a sale of home-made produce is held on the Spring Bank Holiday Saturday and, of course, following long established tradition, the ladies of Paythorne again serve afternoon teas!

  • as in all societies, trustees have been replaced by Property Committees. When the Trust was last renewed in 1954 four of the trustees were from Paythorne area Thomas and Lilian Kayley, Ada Peel and Clara Lambert, more local trustees at one time than there had ever been in Paythorne.

  • in the 39 years since the crisis of 1941 the membership has slowly but steadily increased from 2 to 21 and there are now 44 names on the community roll. Attendances have rarely reached those of some high points in the society's history but this must be set against the smaller village population nowadays.

To close this history, let us remind ourselves of how the Methodist Chapel and its members fit into the life of the surrounding community. The village of Paythorne now only has a population of about 85 (one third of what it was in 1821)  as in the early days 0 f the society, the congregation is of course, also drawn from the surrounding areas. In recent years the village school has closed and Newsholme station is closed to regular passenger services  but of course, private transport is much more readily available than it was in the past. The life of the village probably bears little resemblance to its earlier counterparts although community life in a modified form undoubtedly continues.

We have seen how very varied is the story of the Methodists of Paythorne. Despite all the difficulties, the successes over the years have been such that there is a continuing presence in the village, and this at a time when many other chapels, in both rural and urban areas of the country have been forced to close. Two of the present features in the chapel do in fact have their origins in other chapels closed in this way  the organ was formerly in Sawley Chapel and the communion rail is, surprisingly, from a chapel in Edgware, London. May they long continue in regular use in their "new" 150 year old home!