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CHAPTER XIV.

THOMAS WILSON.

FOURTH MINISTER, 1714-1715.

[Ed. by Timothy Jollie, at Attercliffe ; min. Rotherham, 1714-1715 ; d. 8th October, bur. 10th October, 1715.)

IN

N the list of students at Jollie's Academy occur, as beiore

stated, the names of Wilson, Thomas-Wilson, William

(his brother), and Rotherham is attached to both their names, under the heading “where settled during some period of life.”

In the “Northowram Register," the Rev. Thomas Dickenson (minister at Gorton Chapel from before May, 1694, to 1702, and at Northowram Chapel, 1702, to death, 1743), has this important entry :

“Mr. Wilson, Minr. at Rotherham died of a fever October 8th, bur. Oct. 10th,” [1715.]

In his “Congregationalism in Yorkshire ” 1868, p. 341, James G. Miall includes the name of the “Rev. Thomas Wilson," as immediate successor to John Wadsworth, following it with that of the “Rev. William Wilson (Jollie's Academy) brother to the above, from whom the family of Wilson, of Bolsover, Woodhouse, is descended, as also the late Mrs. Pygott, of Long Houghton, and Mrs. Swift.”

CHAPTER XV.

WILLIAM WILSON.

FIFTH MINISTER, 1715-1738.

[Ed. by Timothy Jollie, at Attercliffe ; min. Rotherham [1715-1738] ; d. at Rotherham ?]

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reference :

“Rotherham. M. William Wilson, 100. [This congregation is now Arian ; this chapel appears to have been originally Presbyterian."]

William Wilson was certainly minister sometime between 1714-1739. Dr. Falding in Guest's “Historic Notes " mentions a “ Jonathan

Jonathan” Wilson, who may have been assistant to his brother William. We learn from the Indentures, dated 29th and 30th July, 1720, that the land purchased in 1704 near the Beast Market was already occupied by a Meeting-house to be used as a place of worship for the benefit of the Protestant congregation who should assemble together for religious worship. This place of worship had been erected chiefly at the expense of Mr. Thomas Hollis, Jun., with contributions from others. The deed of 1720 also states that the trustees had at that time a dwelling-house in Westgate, with brewhouse and stable and garden and orchard, along with a piece of land, containing one acre abutting upon Dalton Brook, the dwelling-house being for the occupation of the Protestant minister for the time being officiating in the Protestant Dissenting congregation, and the piece of land at Dalton Brook being, we may assume, for the parson's horse.

This dwelling-house was purchased of the Shore family and presented to the trust by Mr. Thomas Hollis. The minister in connection with this dwelling-house had the right of two months' pasturage in the year on the common fields in the township of Rotherham. We thus find the minister for the time, Mr. William Wilson, in possession of a very comfortable homestead in Westgate, with his garden and orchard, extending back to the flowing Don, with a brewhouse to produce his rare October ale, and owning a cob in the stable that could pasture on Dalton meadow or on the common lands. His Sunday morning short walk to meeting would extend from his parsonage, now the “Cutler's Arms," in Westgate, opposite Oil Mill Fold, and indeed up the same fold, through a croft, and past an old oil mill to the steps leading to the gate of the Meeting-house. Before going inside he would give a look in at the Sunday School located in an old one-story building, and have a chat with the schoolmaster, as the latter was mustering the boys and girls to attend, according to the rules, public worship on the Lord's Day. The Meeting-house itself presented an interesting and attractive appearance. It was not a very spacious or lofty building, but could comfortably hold in its old-fashioned, green-baize square pews for the better class families and narrow pews for the ordinary people, about 150 worshippers, and, as recorded, the average congregation amounted to a hundred attenders. vices were morning and afternoon. The front of the Meeting. house faced Westgate direction, having on that side two well-fashioned stone portals and four noble stone-groined windows, with small square panes. For attenders coming from the direction of the Beast Market, along what is now called

Downs' Row" there was a side door and covered entrance at the east corner of what is now the front of the chapel, The old Presbyterian Meeting-houses, as at Stannington, Fulwood, Mansfield, partook of the construction of that at Rotherham. They were of simple formation, but of solid build, having walls two feet thick and roofs of stone slates. The pulpit was placed in the centre of the wall on the east

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side, between the two east windows. The large foundation stone for the support of the shaft of the pulpit was, within memory, to be seen in the garden of one of the teachers' houses near the school. It is related that a pane of painted glass, bearing the date of the erection of the Meeting-House, was placed in one of the original windows. As this MeetingHouse was the first place of worship, and, for over half a century, the only one for Nonconformist professors in the town, it would be attended by a good number of the prominent and flourishing inhabitants, as well as by the working people.

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