For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us

Our heritage

We are a relatively new circuit that came into being on 1 September 2009 bringing together a number of churches from the former Shipley & Bingley Circuit, Bradford West Circuit and the Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit.

Date Event
14 July 2019 The Church family at Little Lane LEP held its final service at 10.30 am on Sunday 14 July 2019 having made the difficult and courageous decision that it should cease to meet. We give thanks for its life and witness over many years and pray that its members will feel God's guidance, strength and comfort as they seek to worship Him in new places.
An afternoon service of celebration for Rev Andrew Taylor's ministry and retirement at St Andrew's Methodist Church, Northcote Road, Bradford, BD2 4QP
31 May 2019 Rev Andrew Taylor retired on health grounds.
14 September 2017 Stuart Ayrton, Senior Steward, Authorised by Conference to Serve communion.
Rev Nick Blundell re-invited as Circuit Superintendent for a further 5 years on a full time basis from September 2018.
1 September 2017 The Yorkshire West District came into being and was formed from a joining together of the former West Yorkshire District and part of the previous Leeds District.
23 April 2017 The Church family at Sandy Lane Methodist Church held its final service at 2.00 pm on Sunday 23 April 2017 having made the difficult and courageous decision that it was no longer viable. We support its members in seeking the permission of District to cease to meet by the end of the 2016/7 connexional year.
The church members were concerned about the community projects that take place in the building and the Circuit Meeting agreed at its March 2017 meeting that trusteeship of the building remain with the Circuit so that these community projects may continue.
17 March 2017 Partnered with Zephaniah Trust for children's work.
Margaret Clayton stepped down as Circuit Steward.
Roger Butterfield appointed as Safeguarding Representative for Vulnerable Adults.
19 September 2016 Laura Tunnacliffe appointed as part-time Circuit Youth Worker.
1 September 2016 Lynne Keating stepped down as Circuit Employment Officer.
10 July 2016 Eccleshill Methodist Church held its closing service. We laughed and we cried, we praised and gave thanks as we celebrated its life and witness in a final act of public worship. The church was full of people of all ages; all with their own memories and in that bitter sweet moment, God's love was in our midst.
We lay down what is past and look to the future.
We let go of hurt and regret and travel with hope.
We leave behind familiar paths and take new steps into the unknown.
The singing group brought the service to an emotional close with their own version written for them by their pianist, Roger Morgan-Williams, May the road rise up to meet you.
Photographs and memories are shared on theĀ Friends of Ecclesshill Methodist Church Facebook page.
15 March 2016 John Watmough appointed as Circuit Treasurer.
Clive Grimshaw appointed as Circuit Steward.
30 September 2015 Anna Cooley stepped down as Children's Ministry Enabler.
1 September 2015 Rev Andrew Taylor joined the Ministry Team on a full-time basis.
31 August 2015 Martin Bashforth stepped down as Circuit Steward.
5 January 2015 Anna Cooley joined the Circuit as Children's Ministry Enabler with a welcome service at Crag Road on 1 February 2015.
1 September 2014 Rev Christine Crabtree joined the Circuit with a welcome service at Northcliffe Church.
Jennifer Conroy appointed as Circuit Steward.
August 2014 David Hogg retired as Circuit Steward
20 July 2014 The Circuit said farewell to Rev Ian Griffiths and Tabitha Griffiths (LP), and Rev Sarah Jemison at a Circuit Service at St Andrew's Methodist Church. The service included the recognition of Kim Joy as a fully accredited Local Preacher.
Order of service.
March 2014 Sharon Fell, Children's Work Enabler left the Circuit.
September 2013 John Wilson joined the Circuit as Lay Pastoral Visitor/Co-ordinator.
Martin Bashforth appointed Senior Circuit Steward.
Lynne Keating appointed as Lay Employment Officer.
August 2013 Rev Lynn Britten left the Circuit to take up an appointment in Birmingham.
Lynne Keating retired as Circuit Steward.
Stewart Ayrton stepped down as Senior Circuit Steward.
18 July 2013 Rev Mark Watson was licensed as the new minister in charge of Christchurch LEP. The Chair of District, Roger Walton, preached on the theme of partnerships as he welcomed Mark, an Anglican priest, into the Bradford North Circuit Ministry Team, where he is authorised as a Methodist Minister.
14 July 2013 Circuit Service
Lorna Whiteley
admitted as a fully accredited local Preacher; she was presented with a bible and John Darnbrook read the President's letter.
Long service awards presented to Senior Local Preachers: Graham Banks, Martin Bashforth, Peter Jackson and Roy Lorrain-Smith, 30 years; Diane Greenwood, 35 years; Paul Hockney, 50 years; Brian Galling, 55 years.
Barry Empson recognised and reinstated as a Local Preacher.
A new Communion set was dedicated for use by the extended communion visitors, and Frances Trees was commissioned as a visitor.
Together, we celebrated the ministries of Linda Atkin and Lynn Britten among us, with Linda reading the lesson and Lynn preaching a challenging sermon. That sermon ended with these words:
"This evening I finish by asking you to think and pray about the following. What areas of our life, individual, as a church and together as a circuit are wasting energy, are inward looking and becoming unproductive? Where does new pruning need to take place in order to encourage new growth in the right direction, outwards?"
30 June 2013 Wilsden Methodist & United Reformed Church formally recognised its new name of Wilsden Trinity Church at its Anniversary Service. The change of name celebrates a 25 year union and recognises more recent contributions from members of the former Harecroft Methodist Church.
29 May 2013 Team Ministry Review (pdf)
1 September 2012 Rev Nick Blundell took up appointment as Supertindent.
Rev Alistair Newton, Rev Keith Hunt and Rev Freddie Takavarasha left the Bradford North Circuit to take up appointments in other circuits.
Anne Willey retired as Circuit Steward.
1 March 2012 Pending confirmation from Synod, the Circuit Meeting granted Harecroft Methodist Church permission to cease worship. The Superintendent commended the contribution that the members of Harecroft have given to the Circuit. The last Service was the Anniversary Service on Sunday 29 April 2012 at 2.00 pm.
Rev Nick Blundell was formally invited as Superintendent from September 2012.
The Circuit Meeting received a second report from the Steering Implementation Group.
Rev Stella Hayton left the Circuit.
20 Sept 2011 The Circuit Meeting agreed the recommendation of the Invitations Committee that Rev Keith Hunt, Rev Alistair Newton and Rev Freddy Takavarasha go forward for stationing in September 2012.
The Circuit Meeting also received a progress report from the Steering Implementation Group.
1 Sept 2011 Stuart Ayrton took up office as Senior Circuit Steward.
Martin Bashforth and Margaret Clayton took up office as Circuit Stewards.
31 August 2011 Welcome Circuit Service for Rev Phil Drake and family at 19:00 Northcliffe LEP.
Ruth Whitfield and Pamela Hustler stepped down as Circuit Stewards.
Lynne Keating stepped down as Senior Circuit Steward.
31 July 2011 Farewell Circuit Service for Rev Joy Rulton at 18:00 Great Horton Methodist Church.
30/31 July 2011 Eccleshill Methodist Church celebrated its centenary:
Exhibition - 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm Saturday and Sunday - a display of photos depicting the life of the Church over the past 100 years.
Worship - 10.30 am Sunday Rev Bernard Nixon - 6.00 pm A special Centenary service led by Rev Keith Hunt.
17 May 2011 The Circuit Meeting received a report from the Strategy Group and Option 3 to reduce staffing by 3 was carried by a majority vote.
3 March 2011 The Circuit Meeting appointed a Strategy Group to consider approaches to dealing with a substantial financial deficit.
2 October 2010 The Leadership Team met at Silsden Methodist Church for an Away Day to discern God's will for our future mission. This led to a Circuit Consultation, "Toddling" (pdf)
October 2010 Clive Grimshaw appointed as Circuit Treasurer, Clair Schofield as Circuit Administrator and Nicola Cameron as Finance Officer.
August 2010 Beth Ashton, Circuit Administrator, left us to take up a teacher training course.
2 Sept 2009 Celebration of New Beginnings at Bradford Cathedral
March 2009 Obviously, there was much discussion and work in the lead up to the launch of the new circuit; this is captured in the March 2009 edition of the former Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit's Newsletter (pdf format).

Former Bradford West Circuit

At the turn of the 19th Century, Bradford was a small rural market town of 16,000 people,where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms.

Industrial growth led to the rapid expansion of the city. Between 1800 and 1850 Bradford changed from a rural town amongst the woods and fields to a sprawling town filling the valley sides. By 1841 there were more than 100 mills in the borough and it was estimated that two-thirds of the country's wool production was processed in Bradford.

During the same period, in what is now the Bradford West Methodist Circuit, Rev Patrick Bronte was appointed as Curate at Thornton Church. Maria Bronte gave birth to Charlotte Bronte, Patrick Branwell Bronte, Emily Jane Bronte and Anne Bronte. The house where Mr Bronte wrote and published two books and where, by the age of three, each of the children in turn would be learning their alphabet and singing nursery rhymes still stands at 72/74 Market Street, Thornton.

Richard Oestler, a rich mill owner and committed campaigner for the improvement in working conditions in the Bradford mills, was disinherited by his father for his Methodism.

Bradford West Circuit has also been through many changes. There are now eight churches in the Circuit, two of which are local ecumenical projects sharing with URC and Baptist Church. At one end of the Circuit Trinity and Little Lane are inner city churches in the middle of one of Bradford's largest Muslim communities. Both congregations are engaged in ecumenical initiatives aimed at sharing the Gospel in the communities that surround them.

As the circuit spreads west from the city centre, the cultural diversity lessens and the inner city - inter faith congregations give way to a more rural way of life and congregation.

Welcomed national improvements for life expectancy have led Methodism and other denominations to look carefully at the pastoral care and support provided for older members of their congregations. Bradford West Circuit's response in September 2001 was to employ a lay pastoral worker, who works with the ministerial staff in offering pastoral care to the older members of all the churches.

July 2005 saw the launch of our first Holiday at Home. The event, centred on Allerton church, was aimed at elderly or housebound members of the circuit not able to go away on holiday. Thirty-four holiday guests and thirty-four helpers enjoyed a week of outings, which included the cinema and a bus ride to Settle Market. Other activities included craft sessions, a Fish and Chip Lunch and a Tea Dance that was attended by the Lord Mayor and her Consort. There were even holiday postcards for everybody to send.

Our churches are more than just places to go and pray on Sundays - they are all part of the rich texture that is the community in West Bradford. Our buildings are used by a number of different groups which meet there and activities include; English courses for Asian women (run by the college), music and art groups as well as the usual Cubs, Beavers, Scouts, Brownies, Guides and Mothers and Toddlers groups.

Former Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit


  • WW - Idle Thorpe Wesleyan Methodist Chapel 1810-1910 - Wright Watson
  • TMC - Thackley Methodist Church 1889-1989: A Centenary Celebration in Pictures and Words
  • CM - The History of Calverley Methodism from 1825 to 1930
  • CF - This Continuing Faith: List of dates and events in the life of the Methodist Churches of Calverley - compiled by George Parr 1972
  • CR - Circuit record books
Date Event Source
1738 Conversion of John Wesley, Aldersgate Street, London, 24 May  
1742 First evidence of Ingham Society at Idle WW
1744 First visit of John Wesley to Bradford CM
1747 First Methodist class in Bradford CM
1763 First Methodist Cash Account extant for Idle WW
1775 First Eccleshill Chapel opened at Lands Lane WW
1776 John Wesley preached at Eccleshill Chapel and remarked in his journal, "I preached at Eccleshill to a people just sprung out of the dust, exceeding artless and exceeding earnest, many of whom already seemed to have been saved from sin. Oh, why do we not encourage all to expect this blessing every hour".  
1781 First extant list of members for Idle WW
1784 First class meeting at Thackley TMC
1797 Thackley class disbanded after membership dropped to three TMC
1798 Great Revival and increase in society at Idle WW
1805 First Methodist Sunday School in Idle founded WW
1810 Old chapel built at Idle WW
1812 Woodhouse Grove Academy opened WW
1813 Woodhouse Grove Circuit formed WW
1822 Class reformed at Thackley and meeting in members' homes TMC
1829 Yeadon Circuit separated from Woodhouse Grove Circuit WW
1832 First Chapel built in Calverley CM
1833 First Woodhouse Grove Chapel opened WW
1835 First chapel opened at Undercliffe WW
1838 Greengates School/chapel opened by Mr William Dawson WW
1842 Great Revival WW
1845 Formation of new trust for Idle WW
1849 Opening of first Sunday School, Idle WW
1854 Bolton School and Chapel built WW
1854 First Methodist Sunday School built in Calverley CM
1855 Second Eccleshill Chapel built at Stony Lane WW
1856 First Thackley Chapel opened WW
1860 Great revival WW
1861 Calverley Chapel demolished and new chapel built on Clarke Street site CM
1871 New chapel opened in Idle WW
1872 Primitive Methodist Chapel built in Calverley (Park Chapel) CM
1873 Thackley chapel extended TMC
1876 First marriage at Calverley Wesleyan Chapel CM
1888 Thackley chapel damaged by fire and demolished TMC
1889 New chapel opened at Thackley on 7 March TMC
1893 Springfield Mission opened WW
1894 New organ at Idle WW
1903 New Sunday Schools opened at Idle WW
1905 Thackley Chapel registered for marriages TMC
1907 Formation of Otley Road and Woodhouse Grove Circuit WW
1910 Centenary of First Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Idle WW
1932 Union of Wesleyan, Primitive and United Methodists as the Methodist Church CM
1933 Calverley Wesleyan chapel renamed Trinity Methodist Church, Calverley CM
1943 Union of Park and Trinity societies to form Calverley Methodist Church CF
  Trinity Chapel demolished  
1962 Thackley Sunday School damaged by fire TMC
1963 Union of Stony Lane and Norman Lane churches to form Eccleshill Methodist Church on Norman Lane site CR
1967 Union of Otley Road and St Andrew's churches on St Andrew's site CR
1968 Clarke Street Sunday School at Calverley demolished and site sold. CF
1970 New hall opened at Thackley TMC
1970 New hall opened at Calverley CF
1989 Refurbishment of Thackley church with removal of pews TMC
1998 New church built at Bolton  
2004 St Andrew's refurbished  
2004 Thackley became a community centre and launched a redevelopment project.  
2005 Rev Nick Blundell joined the Circuit as minister of St Andrew's and the District Mission Enabling Officer. Nick replaced Rev Darren Garfield.  
2005 Sharon Fell joined the Circuit as the Youth and Children's Worker  
2006 Circuit achieved Fairtrade status.  
2006 Circuit "Salt People" Mission led by Cliff College.  
2006 Rev Keith Hunt joined the Circuit as Superintendent, replacing Rev Albert Gayle.  
2007 Rev Freddy Takavarasha (probationer) joined the Circuit, replacing Rev Harry Scott, as minister of Bolton, Calverley and Thorp churches.  
2008 Thorp closed its doors for the last time on Sunday 27 July 2008.  
2009 5 July Rev Freddy Takavarasha was ordained.  
2009 12 July Circuit Celebration at Calverley Methodist Church  
2009 1 September - the Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit ceased to be and its churches joined others from Bradford West and Shipley and Bingley to form the new Bradford North Circuit.  

Focus - Woodhouse Grove Circuit magazine

Our last edition was published in July 2009. The archive is held in a remote file store. Clicking on the links below will take you to a prompt to download the file.

PDF formats of Focus - the Woodhouse Grove Circuit Magazine.
2004   December
2005 March June November
2006 March July November
2007 March July November
2008 March July November
2009 March July