Aireborough Historical Society

1846 Anti-Chapel Building Letter

Anti-Chapel Building Letter
Date February 1846
Location Yeadon
Photo ID

                                            "Nether Yeadon

                              To The Editor Of The Intelligencer

     Sir, I crave your permission to make a few remarks upon a paragraph which appeared in the Leeds Mercury of the 31st inst. headed "Nether Yeadon Chapel" because I believe the paragraph contrary to the truth and likely to mislead the public.

     It is there stated that there has hitherto been a deplorable want of religious instruction in the place.

And in a printed circular issued by Mr Forbes in behalf of the same intended Chapel, it is said the population of the township of Rawdon (in which the Chapel is to be placed) is far too large for the means of religious accommodation with which it is at present furnished and for these reasons Mr Forbes calls for the public to come forward with their contributions.

      Now I maintain and am ready to prove that these allegations are not true.

The population of Rawdon is only about 2,200 and the present religious accommodation supplied by the following places of worship viz. a Baptist Chapel, a Methodist Chapel, a Ranters Chapel, a Quaker Meeting House, Woodhouse Grove Methodist Chapel and a Chapel of Ease at Rawdon (St Peters Church), is much more than sufficient for the population attending public worship, for infants and young children need not be taken into account.

      And in addition to the above named Chapels there is a new District Church at Yeadon only a few hundred yards from the ground on which the intended Chapel is to be built, capable of accommodating ? persons.

Here then are several places of worship, regularly administering to their respective congregations religious instruction, twice every Sabbath day, not to mention the occasional services in the week.

And yet, with a perfect knowledge of these facts, Mr Forbes and his coadjuditors have the "Christian Charity" to publish to the world that "there has hitherto been a deplorable want of religious instruction in the place" !

      The paragraph goes on to say that "Mr Forbes is now visiting in company with the Rev. J Stringer in the principal towns of the neighbourhood viz. Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford and Wakefield; for the purpose of augmenting the subscriptions!

That is to say Mr Forbes is going about to get money to build a Chapel where no Chapel is wanted and to offer religious instruction to persons who are abundantly supplied at present !

     If any of the persons to whom Mr Forbes may apply , shall, through your courtesy see these remarks, I hope they will have the justice to annex this condition to any sum that they may be pleased to bestow upon him - that e shall seek out a place where there really is " a Deplorable Want of Religious Instruction" and not to think of building a Chapel where it is not wanted and where, if built, there is no probability of it's even collecting any congregation beyond Mr Forbes and a few of his dependants.

2nd Feb. 1846              I am Sir,

                                          Your Constant Reader"


Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive, research by Edwy Harling


Additional information by Christine Lovedale

 The "ranters" referred to were the Primitive Methodists, they originally met at a chapel on Canada Road which is now two houses (September 2016), it closed in 1867 when a new chapel was erected on Harrogate Road, this in turn closed and was demolished in 1970.

     The chapel which Henry Forbes built was Benton Congregational Chapel, he was the business partner of Robert Milligan who gave the land for the chapel which was erected late 1846.

The Manse was built alongside and the Chapel must have attracted a strong congregation as it was enlarged and a Sunday School built in 1868.


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