Wainsgate Baptist Church
Old Town, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire | Listed Grade II*
History and Architecture
Wainsgate has its origins to the eighteenth-century Evangelical Revival. Its founding was heavily influenced by the preaching of the Reverend William Grimshaw, incumbent of Haworth Parish Church and a charismatic religious reformer. The first chapel was established about 1750. Dr John Fawcett, the revered Baptist preacher, came to Wainsgate in 1764 and is commemorated in the church. It is he who wrote the Baptist hymn, ‘The Tie That Binds’.
The present building of 1859–60, is of hammered stone with ashlar dressings in a robust classical manner.
The interior was furnished in the 1860s and later enhanced in the 1890s. From the earlier period remain the curved gallery and pewing, and from the later a magnificent octagonal pulpit in coloured marbles and alabaster with low reliefs by Anthony Welsh. The communion table of 1896 has barley-twist legs. The stained glass is by Powell Brothers of Leeds.
The wagon roof organ loft arch retain their original decorative treatment. In the niche a fine organ survives and though in need of restoration is playable.
Attached to the church are ancillary buildings including a former school, started in 1834, of 1890 which was adapted from the former manse. The leafy hillside burial ground contains Fawcett’s grave, marked by a listed monument of 1771 and several World War I graves.
A free 2-page guide can be downloaded here.
Repair and Regeneration
A first phase of urgent repairs was completed in 2011. The works included repairs to keep the building weathertight. Completion of a full restoration is being planned, subject to funding being found, so that the building will be able to host a variety of events.
Though not yet fully retored the chapel is already used for concerts, meetings and other events. See the Wainsgate website. If you would like to hire the chapel for an event please contact the keyholders.
It is not currently possible to be married at Wainsgate (though it is at some other HCT chapels) but burials may be accepted. Please contact the HCT office in London for details of rights of burial on (020) 7481 0533.
A 32 page A4 format illustrated History and Guide is available from HCT's London office for £8.00 including post and package. Please make cheques payable to "Historic Chapels Trust".