Category Archives: Methodism

Methodism in York and the Haw family

Whilst researching my Haw ancestors I came across a number of them who had been baptised and/or married in Methodist chapels in York. I didn’t know much about Methodism in York so this post starts with some brief information on how Methodism developed in York before looking at some of my ancestors and the chapels where I’ve found baptism and marriage records for them.

Methodism in York

According to the Victoria County History for York, Methodism was first introduced in York in 1744 by John Nelson, a stonemason, who was an early Wesleyan convert. By 1747 a society had been formed and Methodists continued to meet in a house in the Bedern until 1752. After that meetings were held in a number of places in the city, including Pump Yard. Both Charles and John Wesley preached in York, with John preaching there 15 times between 1761 and 1790.

The first chapel to be established in York was the Peasholme Green chapel, probably opened by John Wesley, in 1759. It was built to accommodate 400 worshippers. Methodists did also continue to meet in other places in the city, including Coppergate and Coffee Yard.

The next chapel to be built in York was New Street Wesleyan chapel which held 1500-2000 worshippers and was completed in 1805. The Peasholme Green chapel was then sold. New Street Chapel continued in use until 1908 when it was sold. Its closure had been mooted in 1897 as a result of the extension of Methodism into the neighbourhoods of Bootham and Clifton. Further chapels were built in different places to serve the needs of Methodists in the city, including two of particular interest with regards to my Methodist ancestors; the Centenary Methodist chapel in St Saviourgate and Melbourne Terrace Wesleyan chapel.

Primitive Methodism was introduced to York through the preaching of William Clowes in May 1819. This was followed by other local evangelical preachers. Although initially small, the York branch expanded and occupied the Grape Lane chapel. This was vacated in 1851 when the Ebenezer chapel in Little Stonegate was opened. It was the principal Primitive Methodist chapel in York until the new Monkgate chapel was opened in 1903; it provided accommodation for 775 people and the organ from the Ebenezer chapel was rebuilt and installed within it.

A development of Methodism, Wesleyan Protestant Methodism, was first introduced to York in 1829. Their first chapel in Lady Peckitt’s Yard was opened in 1830 followed by the Monk Bar chapel in 1859 which was able to accommodate 800 people. Financial problems meant that in 1917 the trustees agreed to its disposal. This was avoided by amalgamating it in early 1919 with the York Central Mission. It then became the Monk Bar Central mission which was closed in 1934. The building itself is still in use as commercial premises.    

Haw Methodist ancestors

William Haw (1780-1855) and Phillis Feather (1788-1844) are my fourth great grandparents.  All the people mentioned in this blog post are related to them.  The majority adopted Wesleyan Methodism .

The first ancestor I found who married in a Methodist chapel is Sarah Haw (1839-1896). She is my first cousin four times removed and is William and Phillis’s granddaughter. Sarah married William Thorpe (1841-1920 on 10 August 1867 in New St Wesleyan Chapel. The chapel was located in New Street, York and was converted into the Tower cinema in 1920. It was damaged in WWII and later demolished. The following 1910 map of York has been annotated to show the location of the New Street Wesleyan chapel which is circled in purple.  

OS Map York 1910 CLXXIVNW

Baptisms have been found for four of Sarah and William’s children as follows:

Date of baptismChild’s nameMethodist chapelFamily’s address
2 Sept 1868Sarah Ellen Thorpe (1868-1902)New Street Wesleyan ChapelPark Crescent
4 Feb 1871John Edwin Thorpe (1871-1931)New Street Wesleyan ChapelGoodramgate
7 Dec 1877Laura Thorpe (b 1877)New Street Wesleyan ChapelLow Petergate
30 Mar 1880Rose Ann Thorpe (b 1880)Pontefract non-conformistNot known

Although their daughter Rose was baptised in Pontefract, the family moved back to York where her father William was recorded as a school attendance officer in the 1891 census.

A record has also been found for another family member who married in New Street Wesleyan Methodist chapel. Annie Eliza Haw (1867-1914) married William Douglass (1850-1918) on 10 November 1890. Annie was William’s second wife and he was described as a widower and a tailor on their marriage certificate. One of the witnesses was Annie’s brother Edwin Haw (1866-1945). Annie and Edwin are my first cousins four times removed and Sarah Haw’s (1839-1896) is their first cousin. Annie and William did not have any of their children baptised in a Methodist chapel; they used St Maurice’s Church in Monkgate. The following image shows New Street Wesleyan chapel.

New Street Wesleyan Methodist chapel

Moving on next to Maria Mason (1861-1942), my second cousin three times removed. She was the daughter of James Mason (1831-1872) and Elizabeth Haw (1837-1902), my first cousin four times removed. Elizabeth’s cousins are Sarah Haw and Annie Eliza Haw who were also involved with New Street Wesleyan chapel as discussed above. Maria had been baptised in St Lawrence’s Church in York but her brother Albert was baptised a Methodist in the Monk Bar United Methodist chapel on 14 February 1871. He later married Kate Adams (1871-1955), a Roman Catholic whose family came from Ireland, in 1895. More information on him can be found in the WWII submariner story.

The 1881 census for York shows Maria and her brother Albert living with their mother Elizabeth, her second husband John Law (1825-1886), their two children and George Poole (1857-1942) a lodger and groom. One Elizabeth and John Law’s children, Sarah Elizabeth Law (1876-1937), was baptised in Monk Bar United Methodist chapel on 28 January 1877.

Maria married George Poole on 20 August 1881 in the Ebenezer Primitive Methodist chapel; they both gave their address as Gray’s Court, York and George’s occupation was recorded as a coachman. The chapel had been built in Little Stonegate in 1851 and was closed in 1901. The building is listed and still in use as commercial premises.

Maria and George baptised their children in the Monk Bar United Methodist chapel (see above map where the chapel is ringed in blue) as follows:

Date of baptismChild’s nameMethodist chapelFamily’s address
1 Mar 1882Ada Poole (1882-1947)Monk Bar United Methodist7 Gray’s Court
21 Mar 1883James Poole (1883-1916)Monk Bar United Methodist7 Gray’s Court
19 Nov 1884William Ewart Poole (b 1884)Monk Bar United MethodistGray’s Court
19 Oct 1887Edith Mary Poole (b 1887)Monk Bar United Methodist2 Gray’s Court, Ogleforth
13 Mar 1889Annie Elizabeth Poole (b 1889)Monk Bar United Methodist2 Gray’s Court
18 Jun 1890Frank Lockwood Poole (1890-1917)Monk Bar United Methodist18 Nelson Street
7 Oct 1896Edward Poole (1896-1915)Monk Bar United MethodistNelson Street
14 Mar 1900Maria Louisa Poole (1900-1934)Monk Bar United Methodist11 Emerald Street, Park Grove

The Melbourne Terrace Wesleyan Methodist chapel also features in the family’s history. Emma Bean’s (1853-1825) cousin, Ann Bean (1843-1911), married my second great grandfather William Haw (1846-1907) and she has been included here as a member of the extended Haw family.  Emma married William John Oxtoby (1857-1932) on 29 May 1882 in the parish church of East Acklam, Yorkshire.  They subsequently moved to York and had at least five children. So far, I have found Methodist baptisms for three of their children as follows:

Date of baptismChild’s nameMethodist chapelFamily’s address
17 Nov 1883William John Oxtoby (1883-1944)Melbourne Terrace Wesleyan ChapelAlne Terrace
7 Dec 1884Henry Ewart Oxtoby (1884-1963)Melbourne Terrace Wesleyan ChapelAlne Terrace
1 Oct 1890Albert Oxtoby (1890-1954)Centenary Methodist chapel, St SaviourgatePalmer House, Palmer Street

The following map shows the location of the Melbourne Terrace chapel and nearby Alne Terrace.

OS Map York 1910 CLXXIVSE

The chapel the family would have been familiar with was demolished and rebuilt in the 1950s. The Centenary Methodist chapel in St Saviourgate is marked in green on the first map in this blog post. It was built in 1840 and became the Central Methodist church in 1982.

The final Methodist member of the Haw family to be included in this blog post is George Haw (1857-1931), my first cousin four times removed. He married Esther Ambler (1863-1913) on 11 March 1884 in Shipton parish church, Yorkshire. They too moved to York and I found just one Methodist baptism for their eldest son George William Haw (1884-1966). He was baptised in the Melbourne Terrace Wesleyan chapel on 7 June 1885 when the family were living at 8 Milton street, off the Hull Road. Unfortunately, there are no further records for Melbourne Terrace in the FindmyPast online collection after 1885. The original records are held at the Borthwick Institute in York and a visit there in the future is planned.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the maps used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Central Methodist Church, St Saviourgate, York. http://www.methodistheritage.org.uk/centralmethodistyork.htm  : accessed October 2020.

Cinema Treasures, Tower Cinema, New Street, York. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/44434 : accessed October 2020.

Ebenezer Chapel, York. https://www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk/content/chapels/yorkshire/x-z/ebenezer_pm_chapel_little_stonegate_york : accessed October 2020.

Genealogical records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Genealogical records. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Genuki/York. https://www.genuki.org.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Tillott, P. M. ed. (1961) Victoria County History: A History of Yorkshire, The City of York. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 404-418.