The 1846 Primitive Methodist magazine tells the story of the opening of a Primitive Methodist chapel in Smeaton – although it doesn’t say which of the several Smeatons of varying sizes this is. As it refers to Northallerton, the most likely is Great Smeaton, some eight miles north, but there is also Little Smeaton nearby (although it is much smaller) and a number of other Smeatons in Yorkshire.
This is the account:
“Smeaton.—Here our preachers have laboured for many years ; but, for want of a suitable place of worship, have not been very successful. Several attempts have been made during the last six years to obtain a building site, but until September, 1845, they were unsuccessful.
The sanction of the building committee being then obtained, the deeds were made, and begging was commenced ; yet we could not begin to build until June 15th, 1846. The foundation-stone was then laid for a brick chapel, 22ft. 6in. by 18ft., and 11 ft. from the floor to the ceiling. The erection is Connexional, is well situated, and has thirty let-able, elevated sittings, and about seventy free ones.
On July 17th and 19th it was opened for Divine worship by Mr. J. Spoor and Mr. W. Calvert ; the congregations were good, the services powerful, and the collections satisfactory.
The entire cost, including the deeds, is about £60 12s. ; towards which there have been begged £27 11s. 8d. previous to the opening, and £7 3s. 4d. at the opening, leaving a debt of £25 17s. £20 have been borrowed on interest at 4 percent., and the remaining £5 7s. will be raised ere the year close, by seat-rents and beggings.
The trustees hereby thank Mr. W. Cussin for the gift of the land, (as he honourably returned the purchase money) and for his donation of £10 ; Mr. Marshall, for a new pulpit Bible ; Mr. Eden, for a fire-grate, &c. ; Mrs. ____ , for a pair of brass candlesticks for the pulpit ; the farmers who kindly assisted in the leading ; and all the friends who have aided in the erection by contributing, labouring, or collecting.
They have done well, especially when we consider that efforts have been in operation for reducing the debt on Northallerton chapel £100. Towards this sum about £76. have been begged, but not without much industry. I have travelled not less than 620 miles to solicit the aid of friends ; indeed, without extra toil, the sum could not have been raised ; for, in consequence of the general failure of the weaving trade, many of the inhabitants have left the country, and any who remain are very poor ; but the Lord hath helped us. Hallelujah ! John Burroughs.”
See the comments below to clarify where the chapel was located – on the A167 to the south of the village of Great Smeaton. It is not labelled on the 1891 or 1911 Ordnance Survey maps so had been closed by then. In 2023 it is part of a larger building in residential use – Chapel House.
Primitive Methodist magazine 1846 pages 572-573