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Famous and noble "Bar Chapel" at Cowling now being demolished.
Keighley News, Saturday, January 23, 1965
Supplied by: Dr John Laycock, Hants.
 

ANOTHER fine old Nonconformist church is now being demolished. It is the former United Methodist Church, Cowling, better known as "Bar Chapel"
Older member of the community recall the past and the influence it had on village life.
It is clear that when plans were drawn up for this stately church it was foreseen that, with the invention of the power loom, there would be a rapid increase in population. It was built to hold about 750 people.
During the years which have followed the official opening on October 14. 1882. many notable preachers have stood in its pulpit and only a few months before it was closed. some six years ago there was a formidable mid-week gathering to hear Dr Donald Soper.
Musically it held a reputation in the area for the high standard maintained in both choral work and oratorios.
First class soloists such as Isobel Bailey. Stiles Allen. Heddle Nash and Harold Williams, have helped to fill it to capacity on many occasions.

AFTER EXPULSION
The church`s Centenary and Jubilee handbook points out that in 1830 three local preachers and 13 other member of the Wesleyan Church were expelled by the Superintendent Minister and they started holding serviced in the Middleton Baptist Chapel, which had fallen into disuse.
By 1832 it was possible to plan the erection of the "Bar Chapel" to be built "hard by" the toll bar at Winkholme Top.
It is interesting to note that the church was known as "Bar Chapel, Ickornshaw" The village of Cowling developed later with the new road over the Moss to Lancashire.

COST 5,501
As years went by it was felt there was a need for a large church and a site was purchased from Boocock`s Charity for 1,030 and by the time the foundation stone was laid in 1881 2,500 had been raised towards the total cost of 5,501 for land and premises.
Within the next few years a Sunday School was added at a further cost of 2.500. This was capable of seating 500 persons but this number has now been reduced because of fire regulations.
This Sunday school is the largest and best hall in the village and it was here that the reception was held to pay tribute to the local lad, Phillip Snowden, on becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.
An excellent stage was built and celebrity concerts, pantomimes, brass band concerts and in more recent years, the Methodist Players, inspired by the enthusiasm of the late Mr Horace Whitaker, have filled the hall on many occasions.

RESIDENT MINISTER
Latterly however the schoolroom has taken on a more important role in the furtherance of Methodism because since the church was closed it has been used for worship as well as by the Sunday School/
In 1905 it was decided that Cowling should have it`s own resident minister and the Rev. Bruce White was appointed, But it was not until 1912 that a house was bought to serve as a manse.
Later on joining the Cross Hills, Silsden and Cowling Circuit the resident minister was in charge of all three Methodist churches in Cowling.
Although this church which was built in a most commanding position overlooking not only the village of Cowling but also the hamlets of Ickornshaw and Middleton is being demolished the foundations are now being prepared for the erection of a new and more central church on the Walton Street site.

RAISING MONEY
The church there was demolished at the beginning of the year and members of both the churches have been planning and raising money to meet the cost of this church which it is hoped will be in use before the end of 1965.
Mr Reginald Smith who along with other member of his family has been closely commented with the Walton Street church points out that the beginnings of Walton Street arose for the week-night cottage meetings held by members of the Ickornshaw Wesleyan Chapel as it was known then who lived in New Road Side.
Eventually it was felt that there was a need of a separate room to accommodate this week-night meeting and a hut was erected in Fold Lane which for a few years replaced the cottage meeting.
About this period there was considerable development going on in the village and this led to the purchase of the Walton Street site and the subsequent erection of the church. This building was not intended as a permanent structure but merely to serve the need ad that time.

 
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