Ramsbottom lies on the River Irwell about 4 miles north of Bury and about 4 miles south of Rawtenstall.
This chapel was the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Ramsbottom; it was succeeded by one built in 1862 in Bridge Street which was itself replaced by one built in Bolton Street in 1889.
1833: According to the 1851 Census Return, the chapel was built in 1833; it had 120 free sittings and 100 other sittings. It can be seen on the 1844-47 6” OS map, an L-shaped building immediately north of the Grant’s Arms Inn (a Grade II listed building, still existing, partly converted for commercial use including a veterinary practice).
- Tillotson reported in the Primitive Methodist magazine 1834, p. 112 that the Ramsbottom Primitive Methodist chapel in the Bolton Circuit was opened on 1/09/1833 – but as the day was so wet the opening day was repeated once everything had dried out. The fund for the new chapel was started by a gentleman with £20 and he let the society have the land at one penny per yard chief rent. The chapel measured 24′(w) x 30′(l) x 21′(h). The Sunday school had 150 members.
The History and Directory of Mid Lancashire 1854 states in the Shuttleworth section, Ramsbottom entry on page 701:
‘The Wesleyan Methodists have a Chapel in the Market place, erected in 1825, at a cost of £500, and the Primitive Methodists have one in Bridge street*, erected in 1833, at a cost of £250, and enlarged in 1852, at a cost of £240. These Chapels are also used as Day and Sunday schools.’
* The location given in Bridge Street is a strange error – a premonition of the 1862 Bridge Street chapel!!
1851: William Platt, secretary, provided the Census Return for the chapel: the adult attendance in the afternoon was 38 and in the evening, 47. The Sunday school attendance was 72 in the morning and 65 in the afternoon.
1852: The entry from the 1854 Mid Lancashire Directory above mentions that the chapel was enlarged in 1852. The 1891 OS Town Plan shows the division of the building into a chapel lying NE-SW and scaling at about 32 feet x 16 feet with a schoolroom adjoining to the NW about 17 feet x 16 feet. The chapel footprint on the 1844-46 map is the same shape and scales at about the same dimensions; it is difficult to relate these dimensions to those reported in the Primitive Methodist magazine. The only change to the footprint that could represent the 1852 enlargement is the south-west extension to the chapel scaling at about 14 feet x 8 feet.
1857: The first mention of a Ramsbottom chapel in the Bury Times was on 11 July – a report on sermons preached on the previous Sunday.
1861: The Bury Times reported on 8 June:
Camp Meeting at Irwell Vale. – On Sunday last, very interesting out-door services were conducted by the Primitive Methodist Societies of Irwell Vale, Ramsbottom, Edenfield, and Summerseat, in a field near Alderbottom [just over ½ mile west of Edenfield]. The attendance was good considering the state of the weather, and no doubt the attendance would have been very large had the day been fine.’
1862: Barrett’s Directory of Bury, Heywood, etc 1883 p.304 Ramsbottom, states that ‘the PM chapel in Bridge Street was built in 1862’. Presumably the 1833 chapel closed then.
The chapel site is currently covered by the car park immediately north of the Grant’s Arms Inn, 11 Market Place, BL0 9AJ.