Heursley (Harlsey) Primitive Methodist chapel

Brompton Circuit DL6 2DQ

The Primitive Methodist magazine of September 1857 contains an account by John M Dawson of the opening of Heursley Primitive Methodist chapel. Heursley was described as a small village of about 300 people, six miles from Northallerton. It was first missioned, unsuccessfully in around 1832.  It was again missioned in 1852 by two local preachers, brothers Hood and Wilford, this time with more success.

The society met in a rented room paid for by J Sturdy, one of the leaders and decided on a new chapel.  A few days before they were to close an agreement to purchase a piece of land outside the village at what they regarded as an exorbitant price, bro. Sturdy bought a row of four cottages in the centre of the village and sold two of them to the society.  

Starting in the middle of May 1857, they took the walls down to the ground, widened them to make a square and opened the new (although not quite completed) chapel on July 12th 1857. Sermons were preached by Rev J Spoor (Darlington), and W Anderson of Penrith.

The following day’s tea meeting was attended by 150 people (notwithstanding a busy harvest).  Then there were speeches by J Spoor, W Anderson, C Priestly, W Hood, C Hood, and J Delfield.

The new chapel 24′ x 20′ and 12 high with a rising gallery (whatever that may be). It cost £90 of which £30 had been raised.

One problem was that I could not originally find Heursley.  It is most likely Harlsey.  Has the name changed, or has there been a slip in the publication process?  The Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 map for 1894 shows the Primitive Methodist chapel In East Harlsey, just east of the Vicarage.  It is still there in 1912-13, but by 1964-75 map, only the former Wesleyan chapel opposite is marked.

On Google Street View in July 2011, the site is shown as occupied by the former post office and several cottages.  Is one of these the former Primitive Methodist chapel?


Primitive Methodist magazine September 1857 pp.556-557


Comments about this page

  • Raymond Ella has noted a conveyance in East Harsley which matches the details given in the account of a chapel opening in Heursley. The 1867 list of registered chapels includes this one as Harsley East, so I suggest that “Heursley” is a typo, or perhaps that common error in official records of writing down what you hear (particularly when you don’t share the local accent).

    By Philip Thornborow (15/06/2022)
  • North Yorkshire Record Office, Northallerton :
    ref. R/M/NO2/28/1, copy of conveyance of a cottage and stable part of land sold for purpose of building a Primitive Methodist chapel in East Harlsey/Harsley, 18th May 1857.

    By Raymond E. O. Ælla. (15/06/2022)

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