This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

Religion It's People and Places

Midhopestones Chapel of St James the Less was built in the fourteenth century by the Barnabys, who were the Lords of the Manor. It was restored in 1705 but still retains its box pews and gallery, much of the wood being local oak.

The hinges and fastenings were made from local iron ore and the original glass would have been made at the Bolsterstone Glass House.

In the 17th century the local area formed part of the larger Parish of Ecclesfield, and the Church of England Parish church was St. Mary’s, at Ecclesfield.

After the separation of the Bradfield Parish in 1650, people in this area attended St. Nicholas Church at Bradfield.

With the creation of St Mary’s as a chapel-of-ease, inhabitants of the few farmsteads in the valley were able to practise their religion closer to home.

At that time St. Mary’s at Bolsterstone, and the Chapel of St. James the Less at Midhope were the only places of worship in the valley.

In 1791 the Reverend Thomas Bland rebuilt the ruinous chapelat Bolsterstone, on land where there had been a Chapel or Church, since 1409.

A Vicarage was added in 1862.

In 1827 the Independent Ebenezer Chapel was built almost on the very edge of the Bolsterstone Parish, in the hamlet of Stocks Bridge. Gradually it changed from a place of Worship to a place of Education and from 1876 to 1929 it functioned as a day school.

It later became known as the British Hall, and was demolished in 1960.

The population of Stocksbridge and the district was expanding rapidly in the second half of the nineteenth century and the Churches were also increasing in number to cater for the changing requirements and beliefs of the inhabitants of the valley.

Eventually the needs of a growing movement away from the Established Church were catered for by the formation of Independent Chapels.

The Roman Catholic Church of St Ann’s was built in 1859,in the face of local opposition. The site at Deepcar above Black Rocher, just along from the New Haywoods, was only secured through the actions of an individual intermediary. Funding was provided as a result of an appeal to the generosity of the people of Dublin.

A note in the Diamond Jubilee souvenir program records that a Roman Catholic Chapel had existed at Spink House circa. 1870.

A record of the Roman Catholic Baptisms can be found in book 25 of the unpublished work of Joseph Kenworthy.

The original building was extended between 1919 and 1921, at which time the interior layout was changed, at that time the Altar stood on the left, but the layout has since been changed to its present arrangment.

In 1864 The Congregational Church at Horner House was opened.

The building was known until recently as the United Reform Church, and is know now as Christ Church.

It was built by Mr. Amos Ridal as the Salem Chapel, following a rift with the members of the Ebenezer Chapel, the two Chapels re-united into the building in 1882.

On the 16th of November 1921, much of the building was destroyed by fire, but it was later refurbished.

The Primative Methodist built yet another Chapel further along Horner House at the bottom of Park Drive.

It was known as the West End Methodist.

In 1867 the foundation stone of the Wesleyan Methodists Chapel at Old Haywoods was laid by the Reverend John Bedford. The builder was Mr. John Brearley of Bradfield and the Chapel opened in 1868.

Prior to its opening, church services had been held at Bacon Row on Wood Royd.

In 1918 the Chapel celebrated its 150th birthday.

In 1870 Bolsterstone, which included Stocksbridge and Deepcar became a parish in its own right.

Despite the early rivalry between the various places of worship, differences were resolved sufficiently to allow the formation of a Sunday School Union in 1872, after which combined Whitsuntide Processions were held.

In 1872 the Reverend William Reginald Wilson, who was the vicar from 1867 to 1914, initiated the replacement of Bland’s Church and seven years later the present St. Mary’s Bolsterstone Church was completed in May 1879 at a cost of about £7,000. A lych-gate was erected in 1897 in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the clock was a gift from the Rimington-Wilson family of Broomhead Hall and the peal of eight bells, bought by subscription, were dedicated in 1892. 

Read this article taken from the Bolsterstone Parish Magazine of April 1898 regarding the Dedication of the Lych Gate.

Read this article about the the Bells dedication taken from the Bolsterstone Parish Magazine of November 1892.

In the Society’s book "Around Stocksbridge the Second Selection" we show a photograph of a memorial to the "Change Ringers" of 1909 which can be seen in the bell tower of the Church.

Tradition says that the stone shown in photograph number eight is the basis of the place-name of Bolsterstone, who knows?

In 1876 The Ebenezer Chapel came into use as a day as well as a Sunday school and the manse became the schoolhouse.

In 1877 St. John’s Church at Deepcar was built as a daughter church to St. Mary’s,which had now become a Parish Church. Prior to it being built, services had been held in the Deepcar National School in Carr Road.

In 1881 the Congregationalists and the Primative Methodists were amalgamated.

In 1890 St. Matthias’ Church was built as a memorial to Samuel Fox, the Board of Directors of the Works at the time donated a plot of land at the top of Smithy Hill as the site for a Parish Church they also donated £1,000 towards the cost of the building.

William Henry Fox also donated £1,000 from his own finances.

The cost of the building was around £4,200 and the foundation stone was laid by William Henry Fox, the son of Samuel Fox, on the 8th of March 1889.

The Stocksbridge Parsonage, the building of which was financed by Samuel Fox’s stood at the corner of Bocking Hill and Haywood Lane.

The Bolsterstone Parish Magazine of January 1886 states that the house for the clergyman at Stocksbridge was now complete and occupied by the Reverend A. M. Winter, indicating that the parsonage pre-dates the Church by at lest some five years.

In 1904 the Salvation Army meeting place was in Pearson Street. In 1913 they began to meet in the basement of the building in Edward Street which belonged to the Schofield Bottling Company Limited.

The building later became the Electric Theatre.

 In 1935 the purpose-built Citadel in Victoria Street was opened by the Countess of Wharncliffe.

In 2004 the Salvation Army celebrated the centenary of its foundation in Stocksbrige, here we have a short article written at the time and the Official Program of events.

In 1917 the Stocksbridge Parish Church St. Matthias acquired its first Vicar and the first wedding took place there.

The All Souls Mission at Garden Village is believed to have been a fruit store or stable for the Oxley’s fruit farm.



It was acquired by the Stocksbridge Parish in 1926 during the National Strike; it was used as a community centre until 1986.

The All Saints Mission at Smithy Moor, was administrated by the Stocksbridge Parish Church and was used continuously until 1989.

In the 1930s Dr. W. M. Robertshaw’s St. Cecelia Ladies’ Choir competed nationally, and the Stocksbridge Congregational Operatic Society produced Gilbert & Sullivan shows in the 1950s.

Every Church was a natural nursery of talent, unselfconsciously displayed in parades and festivals, which marked each cause for celebration.

In 1960 St. Matthias’ Church Crib was displayed for the first time.

In 1985 The Assembly of the Pentecostal Church moved from its temporary home in the Deepcar Community Hall to the top floor of the Stocksbridge Cooperative building.

In 2002 on May 2nd the funeral of Fr. J. P. Callanan was held at the St. Matthias Church, the only time the traffic in Stocksbridge has ever been completely held up.

Finally, you may wish to view the following material about the development of religion in our area.

Churches in our valley

Methodist Church Re-opening Service

Primative Methodist West End Church

Wesley Methodist Church

The Church on the Hill

Joseph Kenworthy Handbook No 15

Troubled Times at Midhope and Bolsterstone 1630-1650

Lesser Known Local Celebrities

The History of the U.R.C. Church Stocksbridge


Whitsuntide Celebrations

In previous years the celebration of Whitsuntide was a much larger public event than it is today, here you can read about Whitsuntide in the 1920s a short article by a Deepcar resident, Beryl Walker.

After having an interim sing at the local Church, the individual Whit-Monday processions, with banners unfurled and bands playing, would march on to join up with other similar groups, forming longer and larger processions.

Whitsuntide was one of the most important periods of the Church calendar and was also a time to purchase new clothes, meet up with friends and have a day off work, which was rare for most people in the early 1900s.

The following Slide-show shows some of the Whitsuntide celebrations over many years.


Clergy and Congregation

The following Slide-show feature the members of the Clergy along with parishioners of the various religious centres, which make up the district.



And finally the website addresses of some of the religious centres of our district, if we have missed you out, or you believe any of the material to be incorrect, Contact Us and we will rectify the situation.

St. Ann’s Church Deepcar

St Mary’s Church Bolsterstone

St John’s Church Deepcar

Valley Pentecostal Church

Salvation Army

Return to top of page