HDFHS – Meltham Wesleyan Chapel
Methodists initially met at local cottages in the Meltham area before forming a society in
1797. Originally built in 1819 as the first Wesleyan Chapel in Meltham, it later became a
Sunday School and Assembly Rooms when a new chapel was built on an adjoining site in the
mid-1880s. This is the chapel indicated on the 1904 map, which was built on adjoining land
between 1884 and 1886 at a cost of £4,000. The original chapel then became the Sunday
School and Assembly Room.
The second chapel was demolished in the mid-1970s and replaced with the current modern
building whilst the adjoining 1880’s chapel is now in commercial usage. Around the time of
this redevelopment gravestones around the chapel were removed. Whilst this work was in
progress a pile of the headstones were photographed by Alan Starkey, a Society Life Member.
These photographs were passed to Roger Gill and he managed to transcribe the majority of
the inscriptions on twelve of the headstones. Studying the inscriptions highlighted the number
of infant deaths that had occurred in the nineteenth century. He wondered if these families also
had other children that lived into adulthood so decided to research their family history.
Thus what started out as the publication of a small group of transcriptions turned into an
interesting cross section of the Meltham population. The families all had a Wesleyan
connection in some degree and include the story of a Wesleyan Minister, born in Meltham,
who started his working life as an apprentice tailor in Holmfirth and then became a Minister
whose postings took him the length and breadth of the country.
The index contains over 500 names of which Taylor with 68 is the most prolific followed by
Wright 51, Mitchell 42, Hirst 32 and Brook 24.
This booklet was prepared by our late Webmaster, Roger Gill