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History of
Sabden Baptist Church

Sabden Baptist Church - Old and New

SBC has clearly changed a lot over the years.  


To read the full history as written by David Taylor, click here. 


Read a snapshot of the full history below...

An Outline History of SBC

Prior to 1793, Sabden (known at the time as Heyhouses) was a tiny isolated hamlet boasting few farmsteads and even fewer dwellings, and no formal place of worship. Approximately 350 people at the time lived 3-4 miles from any other place of worship. Furthermore, travelling those 3-4 miles would have been a huge challenge as the `New Road` allowing easy access to Whalley wasn’t built until 1818. Roads over the sides of the valley to Clitheroe and Padiham/Simonstone were little better than farm-tracks and just as steep as they are today, so difficult to use with horse and carts.

Following the establishment of the new Sabden Calico Printworks in 1793 by Messrs Bury and Co, the population of Sabden increased rapidly becoming approximately 2000 by 1850. These religious-minded men felt it their duty to try to make some provision for spiritual and moral necessities of the growing community where access to a place of worship was difficult, and were instrumental in financing and forming the Church.

In time, 120 people subscribed to worship at the newly built chapel (a small building measuring 8ft by 12 ft and costing £400) which opened on 31st August 1797 as `The Church at Pendle Hill` (the village not being called Sabden until about 1810). The Sunday school was believed to have started in 1797 but there is no confirmed record of this.

The first five baptisms took place on 11th February 1798 and the Church Covenant (a declaration, which some churches draw up and call their members to sign, in which their duties as church members towards God and their fellow believers are outlined. A fraternal agreement, freely endorsed, that establishes what are, according to the Holy Scriptures, the duties of a Christian and the responsibilities which each church member pledges himself or herself to honour) was drawn up and signed by the first appointed pastor Rev Benjamin Dickenson on 28th February 1798.

The church flourished and, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, plans were afoot to erect a new building closer to the centre of the village. After many years of fund raising and personal sacrifice, the foundation stone was laid on the 10th June 1910. There was much sentiment expressed in leaving the former chapel but many were finding the long trek up the hill a deterrent. It was not until 1920 that the debt was cleared. Sadly, in 1984, the chapel was sold due to a dwindling congregation and lack of funds, and converted into a house. A small room in the Sunday School building adjoining was then used for the Sunday services.

At the present time few of those of the current membership haves been attending for over 15 years, with some members having joined the church from outlying areas and from other Christian groups, such as former Methodist church in the village. The congregation forms an active, lively and friendly fellowship and continues to follow the Christian Witness of those who have gone before them.

Earliest pics of SBC

Baptist 2g
Baptist 2b2
089 SD
Baptist 2a artichit illus 1910
090 SD
Baptist 1d
Baptist 1a 1797
Baptist 1e

The help given by David Eaves is acknowledged. Most of the photographs of the original church were donated to him by several elderly relatives and friends. 

History of SBC: News
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