Braithwell, Micklebring and Clifton History and Heritage

Methodism in Braithwell

Charles William Hatfield recorded the following recollections of the arrival of Methodism in Braithwell in his volume, Village Sketches and Hints to Pedestrians (1849/50):

"It is within the memory of several people still living, that Messrs. Luke, Adams, William Field, Richard Naylor and others from Rotherham, visited Braithwell for the purpose of introducing Methodism. Mr George Burgin of Sheffield, had married into a family at Braithwell, and being a Methodist, no doubt commended this new scheme among his relatives so as to prepare them in some degree for a favourable reception of it whenever it should be promulgated, and the request proved his labours had not been in vain, as some of the most active of the early Methodists were connected with the family of the Howes, in which he had married.

It appears that Thomas Wiler, a shoemaker at Braithwell, had frequently heard Mr Wesley at Bramley. He seems to have been the first who took a prominent part in recommending the severe morality which this great and fond man advocated. He spoke strongly against the prevalent Sabbath breaking of the village and especially reproved the butchers for the sale of meat on that day. He was bitterly assailed in consequence and seldom passed the stall without being addressed by some approbious epithet, or perhaps having a filthy sheep skin thrown at him, but nothing deterred him from discharging his duty and rebuking sinners. His death was remarkably sudden, for falling back in his chair he expired in a moment.

The Reverend John Saunderson was the first travelling preacher that visited the place. This was in the year 1793, next year they were visited by Mr Thomas Carlill, who gave Mr Thomas Westby his first note to go to the Rotherham Love Feast* Mr Samuel Clarke of Hellaby, was the first leader. In 1797, the Rev J Beaumont and John Furniss were in Rotherham circuit and this place was joined to Doncaster, which became the head of a new circuit. In consequence of the annoyance they suffered from breaking of windows and similar mischiefs, and it was deemed necessary to have the house licenced for worship in the Bishop’s Court.

A short time before Doncaster became the head of the circuit, there was considerable increase in the Societies throughout the neighbourhood under the Ministry of Messrs. Wm Stroms and Thomas Carlill, and Braithwell seems to have felt the advantage of it. Mr John Clayton succeeded Mr Clarke as leader and after him came Mr Michael Howe, who for many years was one of the most active promotors of Methodism in the vicinity. Owing to some mistakes in the family of the Revills, where the preaching had long been held, Mr Robert Thompson opened his best room for them. At length it was thought needful that a chapel should be erected. Mr John Howle of Braithwell, attorney, generously gave the land required for the building, and a very plain chapel was commenced.

68_Chapel on Austwood Lane.jpg
  Wesleyan Chapel, now a private House

The cause progressed steadily, having very little opposition to contend with, and  in 1846 it was found necessary to enlarge their place of worship, two yards each way, and put pews in it. 150 persons may now be accommodated in it and the congregation is one of the best in the neighbourhood. A small Sunday School is conducted on the premises. The number of members in the society is about 30, and the cause is in a prosperous condition".