A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall
Bethlehem Unitarian Church
Bethlehem Unitarian Church
Turnpike, Newchurch

The Unitarian cause in Rossendale started when the Methodist Conference at Leeds in 1806 expelled the Rev Joseph Cooke from his ministry, which was based in Rochdale and extended north as far as Newchurch. A considerable number of the Rochdale congregation were dissatisfied with this decision and left the Wesleyans to built their own church, inviting Mr Cooke to be the minister. At the same time, the Newchurch congregation, lead by local preacher John Ashworth, asked Mr Cooke to preach to them and started a second congregation for the new movement. The Newchurch group held regular services in local rooms, with John Ashworth leading them and they interchanged their preachers with those from Rochdale and Padiham. Soon the rooms became to small for them and though they had little money the leaders decided to build a chapel, which was opened on the first Sunday in January 1809. The movement at Newchurch was lead by "Parson Ashworth" as he was called, until 1852 when he died at the age of seventy-two. As the "Cause" continued to flourish it was felt necessary to build a larger chapel and this was opened on Good Friday 1865 on ground at the side of the old chapel.

In 1875 a new school was built on the site of the old chapel. The second chapel continued to be used for over one hundred and twenty years until the cost of it's upkeep and repair became to great, and services were moved into the Sunday School in 1985 and the Chapel was eventually demolished in April 1987. The Sunday School was used for services until 2004, when, with attendances falling into single figures it was decided to finally close the doors.

Church registers

Baptisms 1807 - 1994 (indexed transcript at Rawtenstall Library)
Monument inscriptions (indexed transcript at Rawtenstall Library)

Click on image to enlarge - (Photographs courtesy of Rawtenstall Library)

War Memorial