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Cowling Hill Baptists – Origins

November 27th, 2014

Information received from members of Cowling Hill Baptists referred to in September  2015 News item.

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My information came from a book ” The Baptists of Yorkshire 1912 ” being the Centenary Memorial Volume of the Yorkshire Baptist Association.

Chapter 2 deals with the Churches originating from the Rossendale Church, which was the outcome of the evangelistic labours of two Yorkshire men, William Mitchel and David Crossley. Mitchel and Crossley were cousins by nature, brothers by grace and fellow labourers in the Lord’s vineyard. They were born at Heptonstall near Hebden Bridge in 1662 and 1669 respectfully.

1687 or 1688 was the date the two men began their joint labours of evangelisation and by 1691 Mitchel can speak of having ” above twenty licensed places ” and of having continued his ministry ” in a matter of forty miles compass to the good and conversion of many. ” According to the Rev. F. Overend of Bacup, Cowling Hill was one of those licensed houses.

In 1692 the first building for worship was erected in Bacup  primarily ” for the use and behalf of Mitchel and Crossley, for and during their natural lives “-Mitchel died in 1705 prematurely old and worn out ” fitly termed our patron Saint “.  Crossley lived until 1744 but was something of a controversial figure albeit one of the most popular Calvanistic preachers in the country.

The first entry for Cowling Hill starts at the foot of page 95.  ” Here also Crossley and Mitchel labured. ”  When in about 1724 when Bacup became a separate church, Cowling Hill was attached thereto and it was supplied for many years by preachers from Bacup and by John Nuttall of Lumb whose visits meant a journey of thirty miles and whose labours were remunerated at a rate of half a crown a Sunday. In  1756 Cowling Hill became a separate church.

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The remainder of the article covers the history that we already have. However it does say that ” The Association Letter of 1842 says that the Keighley, Earby and Hellifield Churches had their origin in part from Cowling Hill. ” Also that Cowling Hill was an important village on an ancient route from Lancaster to York.