With the coming of the industrial revolution  came a rise in the population in Bacup a cluster of houses sprung up at the bottom of Lane Head Lane which was at this time the main road to Todmorden and Yorkshire  later the area would become known as Hempsteads. St Johns church had been built in 1788 prior to this the nearest established church was St Nicholas at Newchurch pictured left with no main roads as we know them today to Burnley or Rochdale  a trip to church for a Baptism, Marriage or Burial meant a whole days trip over exposed and often harsh Moorlands. A footpath crossed the hills from Heald, passing Doals, and  through the Broadclough estate. Passing through Edgeside and Bridleway which bore the name Th' Kirk Gate. The distance being considerable caused much inconvenience   to parishioners having to carry the dead so far over an irregular and exposed track. The dominating force of religion in Bacup at this time was the Nonconformists. The Baptists started about 1700 and the Methodists in 1746 a building had been built in the centre of Bacup on the site of the present day Mechanics Institute about 1692 as a meeting place for Protestant Dissenters. During the latter part of the 17th century a few protestant dissenters were to be found in Rossendale. John Maden a young man from Bacup heard a man named William Darney preach at Gawksholme  and invited him to come a preach in Bacup, Darney agreed and came and preached at Madens home Heap Barn farm at Sharneyford pictured right. But Darney was not recognised as a Methodist and as such Maden became the first leader of a religious class in Bacup.The Methodist doctrines were at variance with the Baptists and there was much contention. Particular Baptists were strong in Bacup at this time. It was a common occurrence for the preacher of a evening service to denounce the preacher of the morning. Since the old meeting house was shared by the Church of England it must have been very uncomfortable. About 1751 the Methodists were holding meetings in a cottage on the right hand side of Lane Head lane. Whilst the Particular Baptists held meetings in the area of King Street. Between 1820 and 1850 about 18 chapels had been built in Bacup or were being held in houses. Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Primitive Methodists, and Catholics all began and grew during this period. All over the town houses were being opened up for meetings, often it began with someone having a desire to help children. The education of working class children being nil. In Bacup the meeting houses began in places like Earnshaw road, Union street, Irwell street and Market street. After a short while the houses became to small and they had to have larger accommodation.  As the industrial revolution flourished and more and more mill hands poured into the area they would join themselves to one or another place of worship. It wasn't all sweetness and light however ad there was a fair amount of backsliding as some of the new members were not keen on living a Christian life. Thorn Wesleyans was built because the small ragged school in Union St began to increase in numbers as they were unable to get seats at Mount chapel. Another factor was many of those that attended the ragged school had not the clothing needed to dress appropriately for the other chapels. Those who could dressed in their Sunday best with clean hands, faces and minds. churches were now respectable places. Many working class didn't attend church as they had no Sunday best clothes and you just didn't go to church in your working clothes. It was not until 1882 when the Salvation Army appeared that the poorer working person could attend religious service without having to worry about their dress.
St John's Church Mount Pleasant Wesly Chapel Christ Church Ebenezer Baptist Chapel Waterside Methodist Chapel North Street Primitive
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