Stand United Reformed Church: An Expanding Archive

As each year passes we welcome in more and more church records; some wait to be catalogued into new and exciting collections where others join existing ones – helping to create a comprehensive archival record of a church’s history.

The old Stand Chapel built 1792 and demolished to make way for the new church in 1885.

Stand Lane Independent Church is an example of an archive which keeps on growing! And with the church closing its doors to regular worship, we have opened ours to include another set of carefully preserved documents and photographs to add to our collection.

Part of the new donation of records.

The history of Stand Lane Independent Church at Chapelfield is well documented; not only as an archive in our holdings but in the many local history publications that sit on our shelves. Reading about the church is one thing, seeing its historical documents another but to hear stories told by one of the congregation added another dimension to this extraordinary archive!

Church Secretary, Renata Cappelli.

We were entertained this way when we visited the church at the end of last year. While handing over the extensive set of building plans, church publications and photographs, Church Secretary, Renata, regaled memories of the congregation at Chapelfield; taking us back in time and introducing us to ministers from long ago.

Rev Richard Slate
A newspaper article printed after his death describes Rev Slate as a “tiny, careful, smoothly-earnest man, consistent and faithful as a minister made more for quiet sincere work than dashing labour or dazzling performance”. After listening to Renata, we know better! This diminutive gentleman, along with fellow Reverend from Farnworth Church and armed only with their sermons, marched into Pendlebury to convert the ‘heathens’! Did they succeed? Not exactly … the people from Pendlebury were having none of it and chased the pastors away, pelting them with stones for good measure!

Rev Richard Slate, minister from 1809 to 1826.

Rev Alexander Anderson
In the church’s souvenir booklet of the Grand Bazaar 1897, a character sketch of Rev Anderson draws on his benevolent nature – his ministry is regarded as one of “a lifetime of singularly beautiful and devoted service”. Renata confirms this with tales of his kindness and consideration for the poor and destitute during the cotton famine of the 1860s: so moved was he that he sold his own furniture, books and clothes to provide food for the victims.

Rev Alexander Anderson, minister from 1852 to 1894. This enlarged portrait was on display in the Sunday School ‘so that his face may become familiar to the younger generation’.

It was a real pleasure to meet Renata and her tour of this beautiful building gave further insight into the church’s history. We were shown the breath-taking memorial window of Rev Anderson.

Memorial window of Rev Alexander Anderson.

And also of prominent member of the congregation, Walker Allen.

Section of memorial window for Walker Allen.

Below are some other images taken during our visit:

Amongst the records we collected from Renata are an extensive set of architectural plans, drawings and sketches. They’re perhaps the largest and most complete set of plans we’ve ever seen, the most surprising being a blueprint for the memorial trowel (presumably used for the laying of the foundation stone).

Drawing of the memorial trowel, 1884.

The records have now been repackaged, listed and accessioned and are ready for integration with the existing collection. Check out the entry on our catalogue using Catalogue Ref No. CSI for more details.

Wendy

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