Greenhill (Croft) Primitive Methodist chapel (i)

Clough Rd, Littleborough OL15 9NY

remains of Croft Primitive Methodist chapel, forerunner of the Greenhill chapel.
with permission: provided by Beryl Tattersall
Greenhill Primitive Methodist chapel
with permission: provided by Beryl Tattersall
Greenhill Primitive Methodist chapel

The Primitive Methodist magazine of 1866 contains an account by D Tuton of the laying of a foundation stone for what it calls Croft Primitive Methodist chapel – but which became known as Greenhill Primitive Methodist chapel.

Previously the society had worshipped in the upper room of a cottage in Croft “fitted out for the purpose”. The new chapel was designed to hold 260 and would cost £350 of which they expected to have raised half.

The corner stone was laid by George Leach Ashworth. Speakers  at the ceremonies included J Simpson (Halifax), Dr Collier, Revs J Simpson, D Tuton, J Hall and Mr Sutcliffe (Manchester).

I found it difficult to identify from the account where Croft was/is, although there are clues.  One clue is that following the stone laying there was a tea and public meeting in Littleborough Wesleyan chapel. We also know that Croft chapel was part of the Knowlwood station; Knowlwood is south of Todmorden. The magazine account also includes information about Summit chapel, which is also near Littleborough.

Thanks to Philip Thornborow for making the link identifying Croft Primitive Methodist chapel as Greenhill Methodist church. Greenhill Methodist church is located on Clough Lane in the hamlet of  Clough, north west of Littleborough. The Greenhill Methodist website tells us that the church “originated about a mile further up the lane in a hamlet known as Croft when a preaching room was set up in the upstairs of one of the cottages. It served the hamlet and the surrounding area with people attending from as far afield as Walsden. The present church was built to house the growing congregation in 1860 with the Sunday School added in 1928.”

Chris Wells provides location detail from the 1890/1891 25″ Ordnance Survey maps:-

  •  The hamlet of Croft can be seen here.   It can be found from Clough Mill (middle of bottom of map) and then following Long Clough Brook up to the reservoir.  The hamlet of Croft lies just to the right.  It seems to consist of about nine dwellings.  You can see pictures of the building remains at Croft on the Greenhill church Facebook page.
  • The chapel can be found here  at the top of the map in the middle.  It is in the village of Clough next to ‘Green Hill’. 

Although the magazine article comes a few years after the stated opening date,  this otherwise fits well. You can see pictures of the interior and read more about Greenhill chapel here.

Chris Wells provides more detail:

Clough lies just over 3 miles NE of Rochdale and about half a mile NW of Littleborough.

See also under ‘Places in Lancashire’ on this website: ’Summit: Concerning Summit’ (a transcription of the article in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/874 by J.P. Mossop).

‘Reuben and his father, “Ould Joseph” Wild missioned and established a society at Croft, a hamlet in an out-of-the-way place up the hills on the opposite side of the valley, and became responsible for the rent of the room till it was taken over by the Knowlwood circuit.

‘And Reuben’s active interest in this society, as class leader and worker, never diminished till the summons to higher service came. It is now known as Greenhill society, they having built a chapel at the foot of the hill [foundation stone laid in 1866], and have just celebrated their Jubilee; they may now fairly claim to be one of the most vigorous societies in the Littleborough circuit.’

More photos can be found on Genuki including one showing a stone over the entrance with the date 1866.  The chapel scales on the 1890/91 map at about 44’ x 30’.

1867:  The chapel was not listed on the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship, Lancashire (registration was not compulsory).

There are numerous reports in the Rochdale Observer of activities at the chapel: 19 events between 1869 and 1886, and 21 between 1903 and 1926.  Only two refer to the School or Sunday School; all others refer to the chapel.

1870:  Report in the Rochdale Observer, 6 August 1870:

‘LITTLEBOROUGH BAND OF HOPE FESTIVAL.- Last Saturday, the 2nd annual demonstration of the Littleborough United Bands of Hope was held … Upwards of 700 persons joined in the procession (principally youths), representing various bands of hope in the neighbourhood.  The procession was headed by the Darwen Temperance Band’.

The Band was followed by eight non-conformist schools including four Primitive Methodist:  Featherstall, Summit, Shore and Greenshill (sic).  A full transcript of the report can be seen on the ‘Rochdale and Area PM Societies and Chapels’ page on this website.

1940:  The chapel was listed in the Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘B’, Circuit 223 Littleborough. The following information was provided:

Made of stone and brick; seating 150; pews; one hall and six other rooms

Editor’s note:

This page has been rewritten three times, as more has been learned.  Thanks to contributors.  


Primitive Methodist magazine November 1866 page 693

Greenhill Methodist Church website accessed 2nd July 2020 at : : in 2022 this link no longer works, work but the historical info is on the Greenhill Church Facebook page.


No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.