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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 |


The Skipton and Clitheroe Circuits

It is not until 1807 that we find the earliest surviving evidence of their being regular Methodist services in Paythorne. In that year Paythorne appeared on the Skipton circuit plan, services being held on alternate Sundays at 2 p.m. Four years later however, the society was combined with Gisburn and services were then held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., but still only on alternate Sundays.

Following the formation of the Clitheroe circuit about 1812, the Paythorne and Gisburn societies almost immediately again divided, Gisburn becoming part of the Clitheroe circuit but Paythorne remaining with Skipton. There then seems to have been a period of change in the society as in 1812, 1816 and 1817 another three meeting places, all probably Methodist, were registered in the area. Again, no details of the meeting places are known, nor whether they resulted from an expansion of the society, or the need to move meetings from house to house because of local pressures or from changes in membership. Further changes continued in 1823 when for a period additional. fortnightly services were held at Pye Cross (a farm about a mile above Paythorne), and two years later 'Newsholme' appeared on the Clitheroe circuit plan, despite the fact that 'Paythorne' was at the same time on the Skipton circuit plan! This odd division continued for several years.

The Skipton circuit preaching plan illustrated is typical of that period with preachers being referred to by number rather than name. Numbers 1 and 2 refer to ministers, all others refer to local preachers. The small number of collections listed is fairly typical for the period  the "Quarterly collections" were given to circuit funds along with the regular amounts received from each member at class meetings. All contributions were usually handed to the circuit stewards at the quarterly meetings  the meeting for December 1827 being held on Christmas Day, as was the Local Preachers' meeting  how many would attend such meetings nowadays!

This plan is, of course, a 'Wesleyan' preaching plan, the solidarity of Methodism during John Wesley's lifetime having been shattered by many divisions. These divisions do not seem to have produced problems in Paythorne  at least as far as written records show, although at this time there was at least one person living in Paythorne (Joseph Dodgson) who was a member of the Primitive Methodist Society at Salterforth. The house of Robert Dodgson in Paythorne was also registered as a dissenters meeting place  could this have been an attempt to start Primitive Methodist meetings in the village?

The New Chapel

In June 1828 the Paythorne society had eleven members:

It was these eleven heroic souls whose faith and courage undertook the great work of building, namely: William and Jane Bullock, John and Anne Brown, Richard and Elizabeth Coates, Mort Menekin, Ann Riley, William and Isobel Slater, and Thomas Dodgon.... An entry in an old Skipton circuit book states that "the Chapel Building Committee have sanctioned an application for the circuit to erect a new chapel at Paythorne".


 "(1) the chapel shall be 30 ft. long and 27 ft. broad,  on the outside;" (about half the size actually built)

"(2) there shall be no gallery therein;

(3) the land is freehold;

(4) the Sunday School be connected with the Chapel which shall be a Methodist school conducted according to the general rules and recommendations of our connexion;

(5) the proposal to build the Chapel has been duly sanctioned according to rule;

(6) the estimated cost of the building is 100;

(7) the subscriptions towards defraying the expense will amount to 50 or 60;

(8) the probable annual amount of the seat rents will be 4.11

The land for the Chapel was situated close to several cottages and was purchased from Lord Ribblesdale for 5.5s.0d.  the Lister family were always both friendly and generous to the Methodists of Paythorne.

The stone for the Chapel was given by Christopher Lancaster, of Moorhouse, and was quarried on the opposite side of Castle o'Hill. When the Ribble was low, the banks were bridged by planks and the stone carried across in wheelbarrows. It was then loaded into farm carts, taken across the Holme, up to Leather Bill Head gate and into the Gisburn Newsholme road. Mr. Tatham gave the coal used in burning the lime and it was carted from the canal at East Marton. Mr. Brown of Newsholme, who gave the stone, used the fuel for limeburning at his kilns there. All the carting was undertaken by local farmers.

(Presumably one of the references above to 'stone' is to the main building material for the walls, and the other 'stone' is that used in the making of mortar).

The shell of the Chapel was opened by Mr. Gill of Keighley on Christmas Day 1829 and two days later special services were conducted by Rev. W. Brailsford of Blackburn.

The trust deed was dated 20th March 1830 .... The first trustees were Elijah Tatham, coal merchant of Gargrave; John Brown, lime burner and farmer of Newsholme; and the rest were Skipton tradesmen ... The total cost to the trustees was  175.3s111/2d  Subscriptions amount to 55 10s 111/2d collections at the opening services were 11.13s.Od. The balance was met by a loan of 108 at 41/2 per cent interest  from Thomas Wilkinson of Skipton  How the loan was  liquidated is a mystery  It was said that a lady at Long Preston gave a lot of money to the chapel .....

And so, one would expect, the Paythorne society would, after its years of difficulty and of moving from meeting place to meeting place, be set for a period of consolidation and development. True, it was only small in numbers and the population of the village had declined to 187 from 242 ten years earlier, but the congregations were drawn from quite a few families and, judging by numbers, included many children. They also, of course, had a very pleasant, well built new Chapel  in appearance, the Chapel has changed little over the years the single rectangular room with central pulpit and raked seating, but no schoolroom, porch or other spaces.

At first the pew rents paid for the interest repayments on the loan for the building costs, but the number of rented seats very quickly declined, and panic seems to have ensued, at least in Skipton. At the Trustees meeting held on 21st February 1833:

It was proposed by Thos. Wilson and seconded by Josuah Lockwood that an application to Conference be made for power 'to sell the Chapel at Paythorn in consequence of its embarrassed state as to finances. The motion was carried accordingly.

Neither Elijah Tatham nor John Brown had travelled to Skipton for this meeting  a meeting held at the time of year when travel conditions must often have been difficult. Subsequently, from the little we can deduce from the account book, no notice at all was taken of' the proposal.

The trust income at this time came almost entirely from pew rents  the stewards account book for 1830 and 1845 lists all the seat holders for this period. All seats were rented for 8d. per quarter, the number of seats actually rented usually being around 28. At first many people rented several seats  in 1830, 5 families each had 7 seats, whereas later most people only rented I or 2 seats. It would be tempting to relate membership to this variation in numbers but it more probably relates to financial. Problems in the village, as indeed a reflection of national problems due to growing industrialisation, changes in agriculture and large increases and movements of population.

There is no specific reference in the accounts to financial problems in the village but in 1840 there does seem to. have been a touch of scandal as two pew rents were never collected  or never collected by the trustees! The entries read:

Richard Watson  paid 8d. to Ireland, the Blacksmith's apprentice.

William Slater  paid 8d. to his apprentice Ireland and know not where he is, to get it of him!

One other point perhaps of interest from the expenditure columns of the account book is the number of items for glazing. Was this just due to bad luck, or were the Methodists unpopular with some section of the village population or was it just an excess of interest in the Chapel by cattle in the adjoining field, as still happens occasionally now?