Knowlwood Salem Primitive Methodist chapel

Lumbutts Road, Knowlwood OL14 6PQ

Knowlwood Primitive Methodist chapel
Christian Messenger 1905/330

You can read about Knowlwood chapel in an account from the Christian Messenger of 1905 (page 330) on this page.

There is a modern house on the site in 2011.

Chris Wells has carried out additional research:

The chapel site lies above the east bank of the Rochdale Canal just under a mile SSW of Todmorden.

The following list of key dates have been compiled from:

  • the Christian Messenger article of 1905 above,
  • a detailed history with several photographs on the Rootsweb site here,
  • various newspaper articles.

1822:  Halifax preachers found their way into the Todmorden district, and began their labours by preaching in the open air.  The ‘Ranters’ then held school classes and services in an upper room at the Mason’s Arms, Gauxholme.  The current Masons Arms was built around 1840, replacing the Old Masons brewhouse and stables where the Primitives met.  When that became too small, they were given permission to use the scutching room of Smithyholme Mill (see here).

Sometime later ‘… Mr. Thomas Lord, a local landowner and farmer, … gave the site for the building of a chapel, the site chosen being part of his Little Knowl Estate.’

1826:  A new chapel was opened.  It can be seen on the 1844/47 6” OS map and scales at about 44 feet x 30 feet.

1831:  Baptism records from 1831 to 1898 are held at the West Yorkshire Archives (Calderdale).

1835:  Knowlwood became the head of a new Circuit.

1841:   The first newspaper article I have found relating to this chapel was in several London papers when 74 members of the congregation of the Primitive Methodists of Knowlwood Chapel, Todmorden, signed a petition to Parliament ‘praying for the repeal of the corn laws’.

1851:  There is no 1851 Census Return for this chapel on this website.

1854:  The first school was built.

1855:  The Halifax Courier of 6 January reported that:

‘On New Year’s Day, about 180 of the teachers and friends of the Primitive Methodist School, Knowlwood, took tea together in their new and elegant school.’

1865:  The Halifax Guardian of 16 January reported:

‘OPENING A PREACHING ROOM. – On Sunday, the Primitive Methodists, of Knowlwood circuit, opened Mr. Thomas Smith’s school, King street [off the Halifax Road about ½ mile east of Todmorden town centre], as a preaching room.’

1870/71:  A new church was built.  It can be seen on the 1889/92 25” OS map and scales at about 57 feet x 46 feet.  Later photographs of the church and the 1885 school can be seen on the Genuki website and on the Rootsweb site.

The Todmorden Advertiser and Hebden Bridge Newsletter of 26 August 1871 reported on ‘SERVICES in connection with the Opening of the Primitive Methodist New Chapel, Knowlwood, Todmorden.’

1885/6:  A new school was built.  It can be seen on the 1889/92 25” OS map and scales at about 53 feet x 41 feet.

The Todmorden Advertiser and Hebden Bridge Newsletter reported on 26 February 1886:

‘OPENING OF THE NEW PRIMITIVE METHODIST SCHOOL, KNOWLWOOD.  This handsome new building was publicly opened on Tuesday evening with a religious service …’

1940:  The chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘B’, Circuit 235 Todmorden. The following information was provided:

Made of stone; seating 638; pews; one hall and eight other rooms.

1960s:  The chapel and school were demolished and the congregation moved down the road to the Wesleyan chapel at Slade.

The site lies behind and above No. 2 Lumbutts Road, Todmorden, OL14 6PQ.


Comments about this page

  • I’ve added research into the chapel’s story by Chris Wells

    By Christopher Hill (28/03/2023)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.