|Scar Top Chapel|
|George Bancroft and friend|
The Chapel , which the Bancrofts were connected with since before George's time, and where many of the local Bancrofts were baptised,has a very interesting history in its own right, which is briefly as follows:
The current Scartop Chapel, which is situated alongside Ponden Reservoir, came about when the Trustees agreed to replace the original building with a much larger two storey chapel, including a balcony, in 1868. The laying of the corner stone on February 9th 1869 was celebrated with an open air ceremony which was marred by extremely wet weather and more than 200 people retired to the nearby Ponden Mill for tea. The new school was opened in September 1869.
|Scartop Chapel interior|
We are fortunate to have a photograph of the new building taken soon after its completion. The area was extensively photographed during the early phase of the construction of Ponden Reservoir. The fabric of the chapel and adjacent cottages have remained largely unchanged over the past 140 years, which is testimony to the skill of the builders and their choice of good workmen and materials.
|Newly built Scartop Chapel, with the construction of Ponden Reservoir in the foreground|
|Scar Top Chapel circa 1910|
This impressive scene, looking west shows Scar Top Chapel on the sky-line, just above the roof of the mill. Clearly it was an important occasion for the ladies to parade their finery. An Anniversary Service which was held in the open air in June 1909, was reported in the Keighley newspaper as
‘a larger gathering, with numerous traps and waggonettes from Lancashire giving the day quite an old-time appearance.The usual Festival held last Saturday in August was also a big success, with excellent weather, and friends from near and far assembled.. In the afternoon the teachers, scholars and friends marched from the school to Intake Farm where special hymns were sung, after which Mr. John A Riley generously distributed fruit. Returning by way of of Haggate Nook another halt was made and “lucky packets” were distributed by Mr. William Greenwood. A public tea was then served to 300 people. There was then a series of competitions before an evening meeting with recitations and songs'
|Anniversary Service circa 1909|
It was however not registered as a place of worship until 1997, just before it was also registered for the solemnisation of marriages, and although the numbers attending the Chapel today are small, they had no problem in attracting local preachers who were sympathetic towards Scar Top Sunday School.
I mentioned earlier in this article, the part Scar Top played in bringing you people together romantically, and to finish this piece here is a couple of nice little stories written by Adrian and June Bancroft, which describes this perfectly.
'There's a little country Chapel that stands beside the road that goes from Haworth over Lancashire
moor to Colne. It's called Scartop Chapel and I have been connected to Scartop all my life. I was christened there, went to Sunday school there, we had our own children christened there and I have been a trustee there for around forty years.Scartop Chapel always holds its anniversary on the second Sunday in June and years ago it was a great social occasion. Weather permitting the services, afternoon and evening, were held in the open air. A stage was built and the preacher, the Sunday School scholars and a brass band were on this.People came from miles around, from into Lancashire, Hebden Bridge, Oxenhope, Haworth, and Keighley, hundreds of them and all the homes in the valley were full of visitors for tea between the services.Scartop Anniversary was also called locally Scartop Charity, and sometimes Scartop Copping-on Charity [a boy meets girl thing]. One Saturday night I took a young lady out on our first date and on the Sunday we met again at Scartop Anniversary. Last Sunday that young lady and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary, so together we chose three of our favourite hymns from Scartop Anniversary hymn sheets and the one has been chosen for us to sing tonight is 'Sweet is the work my God my King'.
Adrian Bancroft 2004
Scartop Chapel Anniversary is often known as Scartop Copping-on Charity and I think I can
safely say that my husband and I 'copt-on' there. One Saturday night many years ago I went on a first date with a lovely young man to Haworth Picture House to see 'An Affair To Remember'. The next day we met up again at Scartop for the outdoor Anniversary services'. A year later we again attended after becoming engaged the previous day. Later that year we held our wedding reception in Scartop Chapel and during the next few years our four daughters were christened there. In those days all the family attended the Anniversary and Harvest Festival services but alas we are the only two from the family to still attend. Sadly in recent years we have said “Goodbye” to many of our family and friends at Scartop Chapel. God willing, later this year, the now not-so-young man and I will celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. So, thank-you Scartop !
June Bancroft 2009
I am grateful to David Riley, for much of this information about Scar Top Chapel.