Starting in 1809 with 6 members, and another 6 some twenty years later, the Wesleyans had got nowhere. By 1831 they had ceased to exist, likewise the following group that only survived from 1836 to 1840.
They used to hold their meeting in the cottage owned by Henry Noble in the High Street, this was one of the cottages which was demolished to make way for a bank and clinic, now a restaurant and flats.
When George Clarke arrived in Rishton he started to hold meetings at his house (Number 2 Mary Street – Now part of the former Parsons printers) At the same time 2 upper rooms of 138 High Street which also belonged to Mr. Clarke, were made into one and a Sunday School commenced. When 2 more rooms of an adjoining cottage were also added, about 200 people could be seated.
By 1861 the society was flourishing and Mr Clarke wanted to build new premises. He held a special service in his brick shed, and put it to the Wesleyan society that he wished to purchase land from the canal to Henry Street, but the Society refused, and cut the land in half.
The new chapel was built in 1862, and later enlarged with a school and a gallery installed in the chapel. The first people to be married in this Church were George Clarke's daughter and her Husband to be Samuel Jones.
In 1887 Sunnybank House in Blackburn road was built for the minister. This was later used as a residential home, and in 2004 was converted back into two properties and sold as residential houses again.
It was on the 18th of October 1967 that the news was broke that the Methodists of the town were planning to build a new church. The costs of this new church was estimated at £16,000.
On Saturday 25th August 1973 a new Methodist church was opened, and the chapel in the picture above was converted into flats. The old school building was sold for £46,000 to Bob Walsh, who at that time was a big property owner in Rishton. It was Bob Walsh who converted the property into flats and later bought the paper mill from Rupert Murdoch.
The booklet printed and published for the opening church ceremony can read by clicking here.
The new school and Church are on the land which was previously part of Rishton Colliery.
Roll of Honour
Rev W. Bull took office in 1935 till 9th November 1936, at his death.