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Last updated: 17 May 2012


Guiseley Methodist Church - Oxford Road 

Guiseley Methodist Church is a modern building which was erected on the site of the old Methodist Church. The new Church was officially opened on 5th March 1985. 

We are situated 10 miles from Leeds along Oxford Road, Guiseley about 400metres from the A65 Leeds to Ilkley Road. We are close to areas of outstanding natural beauty including, Ilkley Moor with the famous Cow and Calf Rocks, Wharfedale, Otley Chevin, Bolton Abbey and the Yorkshire Dales.

A brief history, supplied by the Circuit Archivist

One day, a few men walk across from Leeds and hold an open air mission service in Town Gate. They are 'Primitive Methodists' - they have broken away from the Wesleyan Methodists who were formed 100 years before. The 'Primitives' first open air meeting was at Mow Cop in Staffordshire in 1807. And so Primitive Methodism comes to Guiseley.

The 'Primitives' grow in number and worship outdoors at Town Gate under the Cross. In bad weather they worship at No. 8 Bingley Lands and other small cottages in the village. Then, too many to fit into a cottage, they meet in a 'Long Room' behind a building in Town Gate.

In 1843 though the Primitives are mainly poor, working class and ridiculed by many, they manage to build a small wooden chapel.

1844: a small stone chapel replaces the wooden one, built little by little, as and when the money can be found (£650). The Primitives perform massive feats of fund raising, among people who are usually living hand-to-mouth. They are always supported by the Band of Hope, which has been formed to prevent drunkenness and the poverty that results. The Band of Hope often shares the Primitives' premises.

1868: the first Sunday Schools are opened, using the Bible to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to children who are at work during the week or cannot afford to pay for learning (£820)

1877: a bigger chapel is built and named 'Providence' (£2200). This was built on Otley Road, where Morrison's supermarket now stands.

1896: Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church was built on Oxford Road (where the present Methodist Church stands)

1908: the Young Men's Institute is built - a source of further education (£250)

1927: new modern Sunday Schools replace the old ones (£4300)

1985: the present Methodist Church was opened in Oxford Road, uniting the congregations of the former Providence and Trinity Churches.

Meanwhile, the Wesleyan Methodists had an equally strong presence in the town. Wesleyan Methodism had first come to the town in 1747, brought by traveling preachers, some of whom were roughly treated but persevered. In 1753 a preaching room was opened at Green Bottom and John Wesley preached there.

The second preaching room was a small chamber called Bethel, opposite the old stone cross, and the first Wesleyan chapel was built in 1814 in Town Street and enlarged 20 years later. Music was provided by string quartets made up of double bass, cello and fiddles. Later a harmonium was used, and in 1866 the first pipe organ. Mr Edward Stuart was paid 2/6d per quarter to 'keep the children quiet' on a Sunday evening in chapel. The Jubilee Souvenir of 1946, whence this information comes, does not record his method!

The Gothic style chapel on Oxford Road, named Trinity, was built in 1896 and its opening was a major event locally and further afield. Cheap rail fares were offered and a band played round the town.
The first Wesleyan Sunday School building was erected in 1825, on land given by Mr John Jackson and with money raised by public subscription. This was in the area of Orchard Street. This building was later used as a day school (the Wesleyan School) and as a meeting place for the Mechanics’ Institute until the Town Hall was built in 1867. Throughout the 19th century, improvements and alterations were made regularly to the building indicating that it was in constant use and that those in charge of it were prepared to move with the times.

A new Sunday School building, demolished in 1985 with the Gothic style church, was built in 1927 to link with Trinity church and harmonise with it. It was felt that the light, cheery surroundings would "help children to develop a happy and cheerful disposition" According to the pamphlet “Of Such is the Kingdom”, issued to accompany the appeal for the 1927 building, “the teachers will feel better able to go and seek more scholars having better premises to invite them to”. The new building provided a hall which the Wesleyans could use for social gatherings; this hall was named the Memorial Hall, in memory of past scholars and chapel members killed in the first World War, a very recent event in 1927.

Trinity and Providence amalgamated in 1966, Providence was demolished then and its Sunday School in 1986 after serving as a Youth Club. The newly formed Guiseley Methodist Church used the Trinity buildings until 1985 when they were demolished and the new Guiseley Methodist Church premises were opened.


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