Hartley Davy

First Sunday School in Accrington

This is an extract from the book – The rise and progress of Wesleyan Methodism in Accrington and the neighbourhood., by Thomas Hargreaves and published by T.M.Hepworth in 1883.


The first Sunday School in Accrington was commenced in a cottage in the Higher Fold, and was in connection with St. James’s Church. Its superintendents were paid 2s. per day for their services. The Baptists next commenced a school in their chapel at Machpelah, either in the year 1805 or 1806. In the latter year The Union Street Sunday School was established. Owing to the heavy debt on the chapel it was impossible to erect a building for its separate use, and therefore the scholars were taught in the chapel. A committee of five members was formed to superintend and take charge of the new branch of Christian labour and was composed of the following:- Chaiman, Abraham Heyworth; treasurer, Hartley Davy ; secretary, Robert Clegg ; librarians, Thomas Holding and Richard Lord. The superintendents and teachers were all voluntary workers.

The irksomeness of conducting a Sunday School in a place built specially for preaching purposes was keenly felt by the committee, and at last an upper room of a building, which still stands behind the present premises, and now known as the Old Club Room, was taken for the school. The change was made on the 15th September, 1811. This arrangement continued for six years, and then gave place again to the old system. With an increasing school, this could only be considered a tempory change, and better provision for their comfort and was considered a necessity. In 1824 the trustees placed at the disposal of the committee the large room which had been formed over the two cottages standing  between the chapel and the part of the old workhouse that was still devoted to that purpose. The boys were now located in the upper room, whilst the girls were still taught in the chapel. A long staircase, built along the high workhouse wall, was the outer means of communication with the school room. For this additional accommodation the trustees advanced the Sunday School rent from £4 to £5. As the school increased in numbers the work of the committee grew more burdensome, and more than what they could efficiently fulfil. It was accordingly decided to increase the number to eleven members, in addition to the ministers of the circuit. At the annual meeting of the teachers, held on the 2nd March 1828, the following persons were elected on the committee:- President, Rev. Richard Crowther; vice president, Rev. John Shaw; superintendents, Hartley Davy (treasurer), Robert Clegg, Benjamin Hall, Abraham Birtwhistle, William Davy; secretaries, Michael Bent, David Heyworth and messrs. John Hindle, Henry Hoyle, Abraham Sutcliffe and William Barlow. The school during the next thirteen years experienced no remarkable changes; its history was quiet and uneventful; steady progress was the chief characteristic of the period. The only records we can find are those pertaining to tea parties and processions. These records are interesting, inasmuch as they furnish us in one or two instances with the names of the teachers and scholars, who attended the tea meetings, and also reveal to us the good feeling that existed at Union Street towards the workers in other schools. The following is a list of the committee and teachers who took tea on the 1st of January 1830:-


JAMES DAVY                                                     HARTLEY DAVY

BENJAMIN HALL                                                WILLIAM DAVY

JOHN HINDLE                                             ABRAHAM SUTCLIFFE

PETER LIGHTFOOT                                         ROBERT SUTCLIFFE

GEORGE SUTCLIFFE                                         JOSEPH ORMEROD



HENRY HOYLE                                                       MARY TASKER

BENJAMIN HOWARTH                                       DAVID HARWOOD

THOMAS LIGHTFOOT                                            HENRY HINDLE

WILLIAM DAVY,jun                                        JOHN CRONSHAW


JABEZ CLEGG                                               RICHARD STUTTARD

JOSEPH HOLDEN                                                     ANN HOLDEN

ANN DAVY                                                    ANN TATTERSALL

ANN HOLDEN                                                     ANN LIGHTFOOT

NANCY LANG                                           MARY ANN ENTWHISTLE

MARY HOWARTH                                                    SARAH DAVY

MARY APPLEBY                                                   PEGGY SUDDERS

The cost of the tea for the above thirtyfive persons will be seen from the following bill:-

                                                                                       s.      d.

20lbs. of flour, baked into Bread                                         4       4

1/4lb. Green Tea                                                               2       0

1/2lb. Black Tea                                                                1       6

4lbs. Sugar                                                                       3       8

6lbs. Butter                                                                      4       7

Candles, 61/2d.;  cream, 1s.                                              1      61/2


                          Total Cost                                              17     71/2

NB. The names that are in BOLD type are all my relatives.





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