Southouram (Southowram) Bethesda Primitive Methodist chapel

Bank Top Southowram HX3 9LS

Southouram (Southowram) Bethesda Primitive Methodist chapel did not start well.  The foundation stone was laid by John Crossley “in the presence of hundreds of spectators” and they had got as far as finishing the roof when “the foundation at one point was found to be insecure, and it was deemed best to take down the whole building and remove the foundation stone yards and to rebuild it.

The new chapel was 39′ x 30′, seated 220 and had enough room for a burial ground.  As well as the chapel there was also a school-room and house, all internally connected.

Opening services started from March 3rd 1858. Speakers at the services and tea meeting for 200 included Rev F Mellor (Independent), Rev T Penrose of Wakefield, Rev R Felvus (Wesleyan), Rev W Sanderson, Rev CS Sturrock (Independent), Mr Jones Greenwood, John Crossley, Rev W Walters and J Dodsworth.

The chapel cost £600 overall of which £100 was for the land. Donors of money or practical help included John, Joseph and Frank Crossley, (Frank was an MP), Mrs Hartley and the Misses Dewhirst.

The chapel was located on Bank Top, opposite the junction with what is now Marsh Lane but was then Bolton Lane. The chapel and graveyard site were developed from 2003 as a housing estate.

Ironically the difficulties at the time of building returned 90 years later. There was a major difficulty in 1947 when the retaining wall to the graveyard collapsed, bringing several graves into the roadway. 28 re-burials were required.

You can see pictures of the chapel on Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion website


Primitive Methodist magazine August 1858 pp.500-501

Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion website accessed April 28th 2017 at



Comments about this page

  • Thanks for this- my maternal grandfather, Clifford Blagbrough lived nearby with his wife Vera Blabrough (nee Windus) and sometimes spoke at this and other nearby chapels.
    His daughter Sylvia married Frederick Arthur Wirth there in 1964- I have several photos and an audio recording including hymns.
    Mum remembers the collapse of the retaining wall of the graveyard collapsing.

    By John Stuart Wirth (27/03/2023)

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