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The Township of Bacup, Rossendale
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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The Baptists in Rossendale

In the list of “Licenses to Preach” in Blackburn parish and district, preserved in a State Paper in the Record Office and bearing the date Dom. Chas. II 1672, a memorandum to the following effect occurs:-

“The barn of John Pickop, in Dedwinclough to be an Indep. [Independent] meeting place.” The name of “Independent” was formerly applied to Anabaptists and vice versa, and so it would appear that as early as 1672 the Baptists had a place of meeting in Dedwinclough.

About the end of the century, there appeared in Rossendale, 2 Yorkshire cousins, William Mitchel and David Crossley who were itinerant Baptist Preachers, holding strict Calvinistic views. They began their labours in Bacup and Cloughfold. William Mitchel was the first minister at Cloughfold until his death in 1706 aged 44 years. David Crossley died in late 1744 age 75 and was buried in the graveyard of the Episcopal Chapel at Goodshaw.

They built the Meeting House in Bacup in 1692 on land purchased for £30 from John Whitaker of Broadclough, on what is now the site of Bacup Library. This later became known as Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Henry Lord succeeded David Crossley as minister but proved to be unsuitable to the sacred office. Dissensions arose amongst the congregation, many of them preferring the ministry of Joseph Piccop, a new member of the same body. These dissensions resulted in the formation of a second Baptist Society in the town, and the “New Meeting House” being built in 1746.

Joseph Piccop was born at Loveclough and died there in September 1772: his remains are buried within Ebenezer Chapel Yard Bacup.

John Hirst succeeded Joseph Piccop and ministered at Bacup for 42 years. He was born in Rochdale 1736, the youngest of 7 children. He died 15 Jun 1815 age 79 years and was buried by the side of Joseph Piccop.

The original Chapel in Lane Head Lane became too small and was rebuilt in 1778 at a cost of £400, and in 1783 a gallery was erected. In 1811 the building was again pulled down and a new Chapel seating 900 people was built the following year. In 1864 the roof became insecure and the chapel closed. For the next 20 months services where held at the Co-operative Hall. It was decided to re-model the old chapel as a Sunday school: this was opened in 1866 at a cost of £1,100. For at time it was used as a School and a Chapel until 19 Sep 1868 when the foundation stone was laid for the new chapel. This was opened by the Rev Hugh Stowell Brown 7th September 1870, capable of seating 1,000 people.

In 1861 Ebenezer Church started a Sunday School at Doals and in 1862 a Chapel was built at a cost of £1,000 with seating for 350 people.

Ebenezer Chapel was demolished in 1963, all that remains are about 40 grave stones laid at the side of Earnshaw Street off Lanehead Lane.

Pastors of Ebenezer Baptist

David Crossley1744
Joseph Piccop1745 - 1772
John Hirst1772 - 1815
William Dyer1816 - 1821
George Augustus Grant1822 - 1828
John Edwards1829 - 1841
Simpson Todd1842 - 1847
Jonas Smith1848 - 1874
William Gay1878 - 1882
Frederick Overend1884 -

Baptist Chapels in Bacup

Ebenezer1692 - 1962
Irwell Terrace1821 - 1948
Waterbarn1846 -
Mill Gate1851 -
South Street1852 - 1921
Zion1854 - 1948
Doals1862 -
Acre Mill1862 -
Mount Olivet1874 - 1962
Union1948 - 1962
Trinity1962 -

South Street and Mount Olivet merged to become Mount Olivet
Irwell Terrace and Zion merged to become Union
Mount Olivet, Union and Ebenezer merged to become Trinity

Registers at Manchester Archives

Bacup - Ebenezer Baptist
Births1759 - 1837MFPR 285
Burials1776 - 1806MFPR 285
Burials1812 - 1837MFPR 286
Bacup - Irwell Terrace Baptist
Births1790 - 1837MFPR 286
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