History of the Congregation

The congregation was founded before 1672, and the chapel built in 1713. In 1662 the Act of Uniformity required all clergymen to use the Prayer Book of the Church of England. The Presbyterians of Walmsley were not allowed to worship in their chapel or in their homes.

Under cover of night they used to assemble in a wild and lonely spot named Yearnsdale Holmes. A watchman had to be appointed to warn of the approach of any hostile party! This state of affairs continued until the Toleration Act was passed in 1689 and they were able to build their own place of worship. Even then their troubles were not over, as they met with staunch opposition from the Anglican clergy and later still from the Congregationalists. The chapel witnessed some pretty stormy scenes - hard to imagine now in that peaceful, serene spot!

The first Minister to be appointed to the congregation was the Rev. James Milne. The longest serving minister was the Rev. William Probert - 50 years from 1821 - 1871. Indeed, it was known locally as 'Probert's Chapel'.