Non-conformism in Minshull goes back at least to Cromwell’s Commonwealth. During that period two Presbyterian Ministers and one Independent Minister were in charge at Church Minshull until the restoration of Charles II.
Our Church was founded by the brothers George and William Jackson of Minshull Hill Farm in 1806. By 1808 there were eleven members. Our Congregational Chapel was opened in 1810.
Cross Lanes in those days could have been literally that. A footpath at the side of Chapel Farm cottage still leads to Warmingham forming a cross roads with Eardswick Lane, Brookhouse Lane and Cross Lane. The Chapel seems to have been in a very strategic position, because within a very short time the Sunday school had between 80 to 100 pupils. Not surprising really, as there were no state schools. Sundays must have been very hectic around Cross Lanes with all those children and their parents, the latter probably catching up with local gossip and the progress of the Napoleonic wars.
Not a lot changes, only the name of the wars.
1884 was an important year. We had new pews of Pitch Pine (still there), the interior was beautified (?), block flooring was put down, new windows, new heating, a new organ replaced the old harmonium and a new schoolroom was built. It cost a total of £469-18s-7d which included £61, the price of the new American organ. The sum of £120 was donated by Friends outside the Congregation (we still have lots of those as demonstrated by our Special Services) and the remainder by the Congregation itself, a monumental amount in those days.
We still have the Pledge Book of the Minshull and District Temperance Society. It was formed at Cross Lanes in November 1891.
1906 was our Centenary year. Extensive renovation work was carried out and the Chapel re-opened with 400 people sitting down for tea in a marquee in an adjoining field. Many would have travelled long distances, probably by horse power. The original stables are still there with chains to tether the horses and a saddle hook on the walls.
Minshull Vernon W.I. (now gone unfortunately) started at Cross Lanes in 1938 moving to St. Peter’s in the 70s.
We have a very good relationship with St Peters Anglican Church, sometimes doing Exchange visits.
Over the past few years we have been very busy raising money both towards maintaining the fabric of our Church and to continue our Christian Mission. God willing, we will continue to worship here for many years to come.