Rossendale, Lancs

Rossendale, adjoining the Lancashire Pennines between Rochdale and Burnley, was visited several times by John Wesley, though only once by his brother Charles (in January 1757). John Wesley reputedly preached at Goodshaw in 1745, but the first visit recorded in his Journal was on 7 May 1747, when he 'came down to the fruitful Valley of Rossendale', preaching in the vicinity of William Darney's cottage at Miller Barn. He made at least nine other visits to different areas of Rossendale, including riding to Broad Clough with William Grimshaw in July 1759 and preaching in the 'new preaching-house at Bacup' (Mount Pleasant, the mother of Methodist churches in Rossendale) in July 1761 and at Newchurch-in-Rossendale in July 1766. On his last visit, in April 1788, he preached from the steps in Town Gate, Haslingden and complained about the state of the roads, 'sufficient to lame any horses and shake any carriage to pieces'. After being in the Haworth Round, then in the Colne (1776), Blackburn (1787) and Rochdale (1795) Circuits, in 1811 Rossendale became a circuit in its own right.

PM arrived in 1824, aided by a visit from Hugh Bourne and established North Street, Bacup (1854-1941) as its principal circuit church. The Methodist Unitarians came into the area from Rochdale. Beulah, Britannia (1852) and Eden, Lumb (1874) survived as ex-UM churches until the beginning of the 21st Century, but have since been demolished..


John Wesley's Journal:

July 1761: 'About noon I preached at Bacup, a village in Rossendale. The new preaching-house is large, but not large enough to contain the congregation.'

April 1779: 'I preached at nine to a crowded audience in the new house at Bacup.'

  • W. Jessop, Account of Methodism in Rossendale (Manchester, 1880)
  • John Stott, Notices of Methodism in Haslingden (1898)
  • John Heyworth and W.J. Stansfield, The Rise and Development of Primitive Methodism in Bacup (1910)