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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 |


John Wesley in Paythorne?

We have to wait 20 years for the next reference to Methodists in the area, until in fact, Sunday April 18th 1784 when John Wesley, after having preached at 5 o'clock in the morning to a 'numerous congregation in Blackburn, 'hastened to Gisburn' to take the morning service in the Parish Church.

 The church was so full that a few were obliged to stand  without the doors. The word was quick and powerful, so it  was afterwards in Settle.

 by this time John Wesley (who was 81 years old) had become an acceptable preacher in some sections of the Church of England. Tradition now records that as John Wesley set out towards Settle he was accompanied by a large number of admirers who stayed with Is him until he was about half way on his journey when they were met by another crowd 'to whom they safely delivered their precious charge'! Throughout the walk the men remained on one side of the road and the women on the other! Could it have been that this journey followed the most direct route from Gisburn to Settle by way of Paythorne? (see map on page 14).

But what do these few facts hide in the story of the early Methodists of the area? Methodism was still a missionary society and there were few preachers available. The preachers would be travelling almost continually from society to society, preaching at least twice a day  often extremely early in the morning before people went to work and when there was less chance of their being disturbed by those who disagreed with the Methodists' 'enthusiasm' for their religion. Visits to societies would usually be on an irregular basis, there being too few preachers to allow any establishing of regular Sunday services in most places  indeed John Wesley did not permit the times of Methodist services to clash with those in a local parish church. The travelling preachers at this time received minimum expenses from their circuits and were otherwise supported by the societies they visited  items such as candles and boots regularly appearing in the accounts!

In addition to visits by the preachers, societies would also have their class meetings when the leader would guide each person individually, prayer meetings would be held, and members would undertake personal devotions and perhaps also attend the local parish church, particularly for communion services few early Methodists had any spare time, nor did they seek it.

Legal Documents

For the next clue in this story we must move to 1793  about the time of the first Methodist meetings in Clitheroe, that year a house in 'Newsom' was registered for the use of 'protestant dissenters?, the witnesses including Geo. Gibbon ‑probably the Methodist minister Rev. George Gibbon, who was however stationed not in the Colne circuit, but in Huddersfield that year. At this time all meeting places had to be registered with the local court or the diocese to avoid the penalties of laws against dissenters.

Six years later the house of John Bullock in Paythorne, was also registered as a dissenters meeting place, the witnesses this time including Thomas Fearnley (probably Rev. Thomas Fearnley who was stationed in the Lancaster circuit at the time) and Francis Ayrton (listed three years later as a local preacher in the newly formed Skipton circuit).

Seven years later Francis Ayrton was the only recorded witness for the registration of yet another meeting place, this time in Newsholme and the same year John Bullock witnessed the registration for another meeting place in Paythorne. Again, we know no details of these places although

it is said that the first preaching place was the Old Manor House which was on the site of the bungalow that now fronts the chapel. In the house or hall, was a large room 25 feet square, which was utilised as the preaching place and Sunday School.

Whatever the real details, somewhere hidden within the four registrations is the story of the start of the present Methodist society in Paythorne the story of a small group of people who came together, in what may well have been a hostile world, for worship and support.

The slow development of Methodism in Paythorne is typical of many societies, although it should not be forgotten that in some areas, by this time, Methodism was beginning to achieve the status of an accepted Church, its separation from the Church of England having become inevitable before John Wesley's death in 1791. Circuits were being reduced in size and services were more often held on Sundays, more ministers and local preachers being available. The traditional organisation of Methodism was also developing  one sign of this organisation (or perhaps 'method') is that baptism registers were often kept by the circuits, one early entry in the Skipton register being the baptism in 1809 of John, son of John and Ann Brown of Paythorne.