Wardle Primitive Methodist Preaching Room and Chapel

Three Lane Ends, Wardle, Littleborough

Wardle Primitive Methodist Chapel, subsequently used by the Urban District Council (1940s?)
With the kind permission of Wardle and Smallbridge History Group (ISL)
Wardle Primitive Methodist Preaching Room and Chapel

Wardle lies just over 1½ miles west of Littleborough.

In 1870-72, John Manus Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (in ‘A Vision of Britain’) described Wardle like this:

‘Wardle, a chapelry, with a village, in Rochdale parish, Lancashire; 2¾ miles NNE of Rochdale r. station.  It was constituted in 1859 …  Pop. 2,176.  Houses, 439. …  The church is modern and cruciform, and has a tower and spire.  There are two dissenting chapels [Primitive and Wesleyan] and a national school. ‘

1867:  The Preaching Place is listed in the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship, Lancashire No. 120   ‘Three Lane Ends, Wuerdale [sic] and Wardle, Rochdale; A room in the occupation of Robert Taylor, Hatter; Rochdale Registration District.

A house called Three Lane Ends can be seen on the 1847/8 6” OS map.  It seems to have gone by the time of the 1890 25” OS map.

1869:  The Rochdale Observer of 20 March announced:

‘PRIMITIVE METHODIST NEW CHAPEL, WARDLE. – On Saturday, March 27th, 1869, the CORNER STONE of a Primitive Methodist New Chapel will be laid (D.V.) by H. BAMFORD, Esq., of Wardle.  The members and friends to meet at the Preaching Room, Mr. Bamford’s Mill, at Two o’clock, p.m., and the ceremony will commence at Three o’clock …  Also, at Four p.m., TEA will be provided in the Wesleyan School Room, kindly lent for the occasion.  After tea, a PUBLIC MEETING will be held …’

The Wardle and Smallbridge History Group website provides an 1885 list of voters.  There are 27 Bamfords in the list living in Wardle including a Henry living at Crossfield, near the middle of Wardle, and another living at Knowl Syke in the north west of the village.  There is also an Edmund living at Brook Mill, close to Crossfield – is this Bamford’s Mill, inherited from his father Henry?

1871:  The Rochdale Observer of 30 December reported:

‘PRIMITIVE METHODISTS, WARDLE.  On Saturday, the annual tea-party in connection with the Primitive Methodist Sunday school, Wardle, was held in Mr. Samuel Halkyard’s warehouse, Drydock, when about 100 persons sat down to an excellent tea …’

Mr. Halkyard does not appear in the list of 1885 voters.

1874:  The Rochdale Observer of 19 September reported:

‘THE FUTURE BOARD ROOM [the Wuerdle and Wardle Local Board of Health].  The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the fact that as yet they had fixed on no place for holding future meetings. –Mr. Marsden then handed a letter to the Chairman from the trustees of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, situated at Three Lane Ends, offering to let the place to the board at a rent of £10 per annum. – Mr. Lord … objected to the site as being too far for himself … who lived at Smallbridge …  Mr. Stott proposed that as a means of settling the difficulty that the board should meet at Smallbridge twice and at Wardle twice, alternately, till they could agree on a place suitable to both parties.’

The 1890 25” OS map shows Wuerdle and Wardle Local Board Offices at the Three Lanes End junction.

1876:  The Rochdale Observer of 29 January carried the following:

‘Leasehold Chapel and Premises at Wardle, Rochdale.

To be sold by Auction, by Mr. WILLIAM SHEPHERD, at the house of Mr. John Butterworth, the Hare and Hounds Inn, Wardle, in the parish of Rochdale, on Friday the 4th day of February, 1876, at Seven o’clock in the Evening,  …  ALL that BRICK BUILDING, situated at Three Lane Ends, in Wardle aforesaid, formerly used and occupied as a Chapel by the people called Primitive Methodists; together with the SITE of LAND belonging thereto, containing 485 square yards or thereabouts.

The premises are held for the residue of a term of 999 years, created by indenture of lease dated the 21st day of January, 1869, and are subject to the yearly ground rent of £5 3s 2d. …’

Did the Wuerdle and Wardle Local Board take over the chapel?  The site is only about 370 square yards.

If the auction was successful then sadly the chapel existed for less than seven years.  Perhaps it proved too costly to maintain the mortgage.

Three Lane Ends is now a roundabout where Birch Road joins into Ramsden Road.  The Hare and Hounds pub where the auction was held still exists (it was built in about 1840 and appears on an 1847/8 map): 76 Ramsden Road, Wardle OL12 0LQ.

The photograph of the former chapel confirms that the Board, or later the Council, did acquire the chapel (but we don’t know when).  The 1890 25” OS map shows the chapel building (labelled ‘Wuerdle and Wardle Local Board Offices’) immediately south of the Three Lanes End junction. The building scales at about 43 feet x 23 feet and appears to be single storey.

An electricity substation now stands on the site of the chapel, next to 38 Ramsden Road, OL12 9LG.

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