Cleckheaton Providence Place Congregational Church
The following source list was originally available only on paper in one of the West Yorkshire Archive Service offices. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date. It was designed to act as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject, but may relate only to one West Yorkshire district, or be an incomplete list of sources available. Please feel free to add or update with any additional information.
The Old White Chapel at Cleckheaton was being used for worship by dissenters in 1669 even though it was an Anglical church (it was a very poor living and seems to have had no settled minister for much of the period between the early 1650s and 1728). The leader of these dissenters was a weaver called Ralph Winterbottom.
In the early 1670s the vicar of Birstall (Rev William Broadhead who had been a Presbyterian minister in the 1640s-1650s but who had conformed to the Church of England at the Restoration)allowed Joseph Dawson to preach in the Old White Chapel (Joseph Dawson was a Presbyterian minister who had been ejected from Thornton near Bradford in 1662 and who lived thereafter in Northowram). Joseph Dawson also obtained a licence as a Presbyterian teacher for a house he owned at 'the Closes' in the Birstall parish in 1672- this was probably the same place as 'the Closes' in Cleckheaton mentioned below.
Dissenters applied for a licence for Josiah Holdsworth, an ejected minister based in Heckmondwike to preach at the Old White Chapel in 1672; this was refused and the vicar of Birstall stopped letting dissenters use the chapel after this.
Dissenters were also holding services at a farmhouse in Cleckheaton called 'the Closes' and at other nearby houses in 1672.
Rev John Holdsworth was formally appointed as minister of the congregation meeting at 'the Closes' in 1678 though he had taken services for them before; Joseph Dawson also seems to have retained a connection with the congregation until he became minister at Morley in 1688.
'The Closes' was registered as a dissenting meeting house in 1689.
The Rev John Holdsworth's house at Spen was registered as a dissenting meeting house in 1695.
A chapel was built in Scott Yard 1704 or 1710; this building was of brick and was known as the 'Red Chapel'.
Ministers of this congregation were Presbyterian rather than Congregational until the mid-1700s. The 'Red Chapel' was rebuilt in 1780.
A Sunday School was established in 1805; the aisles of the chapel were used for holding the Sunday School classes.
The chapel was enlarged in 1815 and a Sunday School was built adjoining the chapel in 1819.
A new large chapel was built at Providence Place in Bradford Road in 1857-1859; the Sunday School premises were in the basement and the new chapel was next door to the site of the old one which was demolished.
The chapel was enlarged in 1886 and eventually closed in 1991. The congregation joined Gomersal Grove United Reformed Church.
The chapel building was converted to a restaurant in 2000-2001.
Records relating to this church can be found at WYAS: Kirklees under the reference numbers KC949, KC1007.