SE2532 STONEBRIDGE LANE, Farnley
714-1/40/689 (North West side)
05/08/76 Farnley Hill Methodist Church and
(Formerly Listed as:
STONEBRIDGE LANE, Farnley
Farnley Methodist Church and Sunday
Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1828.
MATERIALS: The church is constructed of coursed squared gritstone with slate roofs.
EXTERIOR: It is a tall 2-storey building of 5 x 3 bays. The central 3 bays break forward and there are chamfered quoins and a first floor sill band. A pair of single-storey porches project from the outer bays, with doorways facing inwards. They have traceried overlights, moulded door surrounds and round-arched windows with margin lights, cornices and blocking courses. The windows (3 to ground floor, 5 to first floor) are 6/6 pane sashes with glazing bars, plain sills and lintels. The central ground floor window has been adapted from the original 1828 central doorway, and its outline can be seen. The left return has 3 sashes with glazing bars at gallery level.
The Sunday School building is attached to the right of the church. It has 2 storeys, 3 x 4 bays, with the front right bay rebuilt and extended forward to the road edge: this has a Venetian window to the front on both floors and a flat roof. The original Sunday School retains stone steps (rebuilt) up to a double door with overlight and architrave with entablature carved with the words: 'SUNDAY SCHOOL/ Erected AD MDCCCXXVIII', and a cornice above. To the left is a Venetian window with glazing-bar sash and below this a panelled door with traceried overlight in plain surround with a 16-pane sash to the right. The right return has a blocked central door and double doors to the far right. There are 4 first floor 30-pane sashes in plain stone surrounds to the right return, and a hipped roof.
INTERIOR: The doors to the entrance porches of the church each lead into a narrow vestibule with stairs leading up to the gallery and a door into the main body of the church. Two aisles divide a full set of box pews dating to 1873, those at the centre rear with rails and curtains. At the front is the communion rail in wrought iron and wood, behind which is a table, bearing a small stone baptismal font, which has been cut to wrap round the double height pulpit in panelled polished wood with a bowed central section and railed steps to the right. Cast iron columns support a horseshoe-shaped gallery with raked box pews dating to 1828. To the rear corners are enclosed sections with high wooden screens for private meetings or for children. Above the pulpit is an organ dating to 1892 set behind an arched opening. This housing and the vestry below have been adapted from a two-room house at the back of the church. There are two marble memorial plaques in the church to members of the Pawson family, prominent local mill-owners who contributed considerably to the rebuilding of the church in 1828. Thomas Pawson was only the second Wesleyan to become Mayor of Leeds in 1841, after the Reform Act of 1835 allowed non-Anglicans to sit on the Borough Council.
The Sunday School to the first floor is a single room with a kitchen to the front, while the ground floor caretaker's flat has been adapted in part for communal use. No original features remain within.
HISTORY: There is an oral tradition that John Wesley visited and preached in the Farnley area in 1761 and 1780 and a meeting was subsequently started at the home of William Farrer, a farmer. Land at Farnley Hill was obtained for a chapel and building started 1796. The building was registered in the Consistory Court on 13th May 1797 and opened on 5th June. Records suggest that at that time, it was a single storey rectangular building with a vestry extending to the north-east side and a coal place to the north-west corner. Later plans show the pulpit was originally on the south-west side, and there was a central entrance on the south-east side. By 1819 a school house had been built on the south-west side of the church, with steps leading up from the front.
The whole building was rebuilt in an enlarged form in 1828: it is not clear whether any of the original fabric survived. The area of the church was extended to the north-west, a gallery was added with stairs leading up to either side from a lobby across the front, and the vestry was swept away and replaced by large extension, almost as large as the church, containing a Sunday School over a caretaker's house beneath. The entrance to the Sunday School was at the front on the first floor, via an outside staircase. The position of the pulpit was moved from the side wall to the rear (north-west) wall, and the pulpit in its double decked form probably dates from the 1828 rebuilding.
In 1866 a vestry with organ loft above was added to the rear of the church: this may have been an adaptation of a pre-existing two-room cottage on the site, or a replacement of it. An organ was bought second hand from Sowerby Bridge church for £80, replaced in1892 by a new organ from Brookes of Glasgow.
Further alterations took place in 1873 when two single storey porches were added to the front, with altered staircases to the gallery and the removal of the internal lobby. The outline of the original central doorway can still be traced. Pews were installed to the ground floor at this time. The upper dimensions of the pulpit were altered in 1911, and in 1915 the clock and the belfry on the roof were removed. The old school room to the south-west was pulled down in 1921, and the Sunday School building was extended forwards and remodelled. The rebuilding appears to have re-used the 1828 windows. Further alterations to the ground floor of this building have taken place more recently. Two ventilators on the roof of the church were blown down in gales in 1954, and the pediment at the front removed in 1968.
Farnley Local History Group, Leeds: A Portrait of Farnley: p.10
Stell, C.; Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting houses in the North of England, RCHME, 1994, p 19-20, p128, p288-9, p251, p75-8, p288-9
Stell, C.; Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in Eastern England, English Heritage, 2002, p99, p118, p283, p337
Reasons for designation
Farnley Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: the church has an imposing frontage which, while it has lost some original features, is still attractive and well built
* Interior: the interior has a gallery and a complete set of box pews, those in the gallery dating to 1828 and including unusual enclosed sections for small meetings
* Special Features: the double deck pulpit, probably dating to 1828, has been altered but is a rare survival
Listing NGR: SE2513532510