Stubley lies about 2½ miles NE of Rochdale and just over half a mile WSW of Littleborough.
1830: The 1851 Census Return for a ‘Preaching Place’ in Stubley can be seen here. It shows that the ‘place’ was part of Stubley Hall and was opened in about 1830. A history of Stubley Old Hall can be seen here. It mentions ‘Stubley Hall had a domestic chapel probably situated at the east end of the south wing and divine service was held there prior to Littleborough church being built’. Holy Trinity Church Littleborough was consecrated in 1820; was the Hall chapel then made available to the Primitive Methodists? Stubley Old Hall still exists; it is a Grade 2 Listed Building; the description does not mention a chapel.
1851: A return was made to the 1851 Census for a chapel used by the Primitive Methodists in Stubley Hall (see above).
1856: from the Rochdale Observer of 6 April 1856:
‘OPENING OF A NEW CHAPEL AT STUBLEY. – On Friday, March 28th, a new chapel was opened at Stubley by the Primitive Methodists. This is the third chapel which this body has opened in this district during the last few years [Shore, Shore Road, opened in 1851 and Rochdale, Crawford Street, in 1854]. The chapel at Stubley is a neat building, measuring internally, 51 feet by 33 feet. It has cost £790; towards which from £200 to £300 has been raised. The architect has been Mr. D. Russell, of Rochdale; and the builder Mr. William Rhodes, of Stubley. On the above morning, the Rev. H. W. Parkinson conducted the services; and the Rev. E. C. Lewis in the afternoon [neither of these ministers appear elsewhere on this website]. The collections amounted to £11. 15s. On Sunday, March 30th, sermons were preached, followed by collections to the amount of £26.’
The chapel can be seen on the 1890 1-to-500 town map where it is labelled as ‘Methodist Chapel (Primitive) (Seats for 330)’. It scales at 55’ x 33’.
There are more than a dozen articles referring to the Stubley chapel or school or Sunday School in the same newspaper between 1862 and 1886.
1867: The chapel is listed in the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship, Lancashire No. 116.
1869: The Slater’s Trade Directory for Rochdale lists thirteen PM Places of Worship including Stubley (see ‘Rochdale and Area PM Societies and Chapels’ on this website).
Reported in the Rochdale Observer of 22 October 1870:
‘Unsectarian New School. – A new Sunday school has lately been established at Featherstall, in a room formally occupied as a kind of warehouse. In December, 1869, a few friends formally worshipping at Stubley becoming rather dissatisfied with the way matters were managed determined to set up a school for themselves, and the result is that they have at the present time 24 teachers male and female, and 44 scholars.’
1870: Report in the Rochdale Observer, 22 January:
‘STUBLEY PRIMITIVE METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL. – On Newmarket Monday, the annual tea meeting was held in the above place of worship, when about 284 persons sat down to an excellent repast … Afterwards a public meeting was held … the following friends addressed the meeting: Rev J. Hill, … The addresses were interspersed with recitations by the scholars, and selected pieces by the choir.’
Rev J. Hill (1843-78) is my wife’s great grandfather. He was stationed in Rochdale 1869/70.
1888: Report in the Rochdale Observer, 7 January 1888:
‘Tea matins were held on Saturday at …. ; and on Monday at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Stubley, at Featherstall Preaching Room and at …’
1903-44: There are more than two dozen articles referring to the Stubley chapel or school or Sunday School in the Rochdale Observer between 1903 and 1944.
1940: This chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘B’, Circuit 223 Littleborough. The following information was provided:
Made of stone; seating 252; pews; no hall, two other rooms.
1944: Report in the Rochdale Observer, 9 September 1944:
about Mr J.R. Law: he ‘was connected with the now defunct Primitive Methodist Church at Smallbridge. Later he joined the Primitive Methodists at Stubley, and for a long number of years he had been one of its most active and devoted workers …’
1978: According to the National Archives, Littleborough (Methodist) Circuit, the chapel closed on 2 October 1978. ‘Closed chapels of the Methodist Connexion, Bolton and Rochdale District’ records that the National Archives hold records from Stubley Chapel for the period 1867-1978.
The building still exists, having been converted into a house; the pattern of buttresses on this building correspond to those on the chapel shown on the 1890 map. It stands next to No. 149 Featherstall Road but its postal address is 1 High Street OL15 8PQ.