Gisburn Primary School www.gisburn.lancsngfl.ac.uk
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 |
We have no record of attendances at either services or school at the end of the 19th century, although in 1897 the membership increased to 11 out of a circuit total of 430. However the difficulty of measuring the size and influence of a society by its membership is well illustrated by the records available for the years 1905. In 1905 the society membership was only 8 yet in 1908 there were 34 scholars on the Sunday School register and 'in 1906 a photograph was taken of the scholars and teachers of that school the total number present being 64! In contrast, in 1909 there were only 31 scholars of all denominations at the village school, but the same year at the Sunday School Anniversary and re opening after renovation' the congregation was so great that 'a number were unable to gain admittance'. To complete the confusion we have the Clitheroe circuit financial assessments for 1901 the circuit quarterly income being anticipated as £153 of which the Paythorne assessment was £1.15s.0d. However, the actual amount paid by Paythorne to the circuit funds did not rise to this quarterly amount until 41 years later!
The Sunday School registers for the years 1908 to 1934 show that three classes were usually held, the 'first class' (taken by the superintendent), the testament class', and the 'infants class'. During several periods the attendance was between 30 and 40 scholars, although it was often lower.
It was in 1909,when George Lambert removed to Bradford, that John Taylor came to Bank Top .... For nearly 20 years he was principal leader and worker in the chapel and school and during this time Methodism in Paythorne reached high‑water mark in its history. Under his wise and tactful guidance the congregation doubled and the school had a record attendance .... Humble, sensitive, retiring, Mr. Taylor had a most lovable disposition.... he gathered about him a splendid body of workers .... His sudden death in 1927, in the prime of life, was a shattering blow to Paythorne ....
Following Mr. Taylors death, Mr. Walker of Moorhouse, who was also 1 a local preacher, took over the Sunday School for several years.
Despite the successes of this period the 'high water' unfortunately was not translated into an increase in adult membership of the society. Turning to the trust records for the same period we find that at first the local trustees were Thomas Peel, George Lambert, and William Barrett and that these were succeeded in 1925 by John Taylor and' John Lambert. The interest in the musical contribution to services is shown by the purchase in 1914 of 'an instrument for the Chapel' variously described as an organ, and a harmonium the cost being £23.15s.6d, over threequarters of this cost being met by the Sunday School. This 'instrument' was replaced in 1925 we don't know what the effect on the singing was, but four years later the trust contributed £4.10s.0d to the cost of a choir trip! The accounts for 1925 also refer to a Good Friday tea and meeting an annual tea party and meeting had been held regularly for many years, the teas being noted for the quality of the hot muffins!
One other aspect of the life of rural communities at this time is illustrated on the circuit plans. Nowadays committee meetings are usually held in the building concerned, but not so 50 years ago! Tuesday was market day in Clitheroe and once a year on a Tuesday the superintendent minister diverted the members of the rural churches away from the market for their annual trust meetings in Wesley ‑ 8 meetings for the 'super' in one day!
After all the struggles and frustrations, the state of the society in 1930 was such that the members felt there was plenty to celebrate and hope for. Just before the celebrations, however,
"Paythorne awoke from its rural somnolence and expressed its awakening in the form of one of the most hilariously jolly dances that the village schoolroom has ever known"
- an event in no way connected with the Chapel but in aid of Leeds Infirmary - however there is no doubt that the village did stay awake for the centenary!
On Good Friday 1930 a 'Great Rally of Friends from the Clitheroe Circuit' was held, the Chapel being 'crowded to the doors' and the main speakers being Rev. George Tyson (the superintendent minister) and George Hargreaves. Perhaps George Hargreaves was conscious of some overemphasis on the 'three Georges' as in opening his speech he showed the skill which, in a very different context, took him on to be Mayor of Clitheroe. He began by quoting a l9th century derogatory verse now generally forgotten (perhaps thankfully) but which described the first four King Georges he however equated this to himself (1st), George Lambert (2nd), Rev. George Parsons (3rd), Rev. George Tyson (4th) then added two more Georges to the verse, Rev. George Pollard (5th from Chatburn) and George Cowgill (6th editor of the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times), and, as he said, almost certainly with all 6 Georges present he "could quote the last line of the verse faithfully Heaven be praised the Georges are ended!"
The celebrations continued on the Sunday with services conducted by Rev. George Parsons and a 'Rally of Past and Present Paythorners and Friends' on the Monday. For all the events the Chapel seems to have been full to capacity at one stage
the pianist had scarcely room to play, so tightly was the crowd jammed and one envied Rev. George Pollard who had the pulpit to himself!
Many people spoke at the meetings and services about the history, about those whose name was not George, about the future and about personal needs and service:
the world would not be saved by preaching but by Christian people giving their testimony to the cause they had proved in their hearts and minds.