In August 1867 Mrs Cooper laid the foundation stone for Royton Primitive Methodist chapel in the Oldham circuit and it was opened on December 29th 1867 with sermons by by Revs J Graham, T Bennett, J Travis and T Dodd. The chapel cost £500 of which they had raised one third. “Precious souls have been saved, a new class formed and the society nearly doubled.”
The story is told in the Primitive Methodist magazine by Thomas Bennett.
The 1902 magazine tells us that a new church at Royton was one of several chapel building schemes undertaken lately in Oldham. The cost is given as £5,000 – although it is not clear whether that is for a single chapel or the pair.
The chapel was on Oldham Road, opposite Crompton Street . There is now modern housing on the site.
Chris Wells has researched more of the story (March 2023):
John Manus Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (in ‘A Vision of Britain’) described Royton like this:
‘ROYTON, a large village, a township-chapelry …. The village stands at the terminus of the Manchester, Oldham, and Royton Railway …. ; is a place of some antiquity and note; ; carries on industry in large cotton factories … a church, three dissenting chapels, a national school … Pop. in 1851, 6,974; in 1861, 7,493. Houses 1,562.’
Two maps clarify the story of the two chapels. The 1891 1-to-500 OS town plan shows a ‘Methodist Chapel (Primitive) (seats for 250)’ on Oldham Road, just south of the junction with Shaw Street; it is nearly opposite the Baptist chapel and about 150 yards north of St. Aidan & St. Oswald’s R.C. Chapel. It scales at 47’ x 29’ and occupies only part of the plot.
The 1915 25” OS map shows two buildings fully occupying the same plot. The front one is labelled ‘Prim. M. Church’ and scales at 70’ x53’ and the rear one joined to it and extending through to Bamford Street is labelled ‘Sun. Sch.’ and scales at 57’ x 44’. We can therefore conclude that the first smaller chapel, built in 1867, was pulled down in 1897 to make way for a much larger chapel and Sunday School.
1830: According to Genuki, the society was founded in 1830.
1867: The first chapel opened as described above.
1877: The Preaching Plan for the 4th quarter, Oldham 1st Circuit shows the following Places: Henshaw Street [Oldham], Shore Edge, Chadderton [Middleton Road], Royton [probably Oldham Road rather than Fir Lane], North Moor, Middleton Road [Royton], Shaw [Refuge Street] and Ashton Road [‘Bethel’, Copster Hill Road]. There were two Sunday services at Royton, at 10.30 and 6, all of which were led by lay preachers apart from two morning services and two evening services taken by one of the two circuit ministers. There were also weekly Thursday evening meetings almost always led by one of the ministers.
1897: The Heywood Advertiser reported on 9 July 1897:
‘CORNER STONE LAYING. … of a new Primitive Methodist school and chapel in Oldham Road which it is estimated will cost about £2000.’
1940: The list of Methodist Church Buildings, Circuit No. 822: Oldham (Middleton Road), contains this entry:
‘Royton (Oldham Road): Primitive Methodist, Brick; Seats 400; Pews; one hall and 12 rooms.’
1970: According to Genuki, the chapel was closed in 1970.
The site is now occupied by 22-32 Bamford Street, OL2 6DJ.
Primitive Methodist magazine 1868 page 368
Primitive Methodist magazine 1902 page 475