The story of the Baptist Church in Idle began on April 18th 1808
when eight people were dismissed from the Church in Bramley in Leeds
to establish a new church in Idle. Few of these people could read, or
write their own names and the signing of the Church covenant was,
appropriately, by means of a cross.
The rules of Church membership in those days were strict
and no one could be absent from worship except for sickness,
lameness, unseasonable weather or old age.
On the Lords day there was to be no sport or plays, unnecessary visits
to friends and harmful conversations were to be avoided.
Towards one another the people were to exclude sly looks, distant
carriage, all whispering, railing, backbiting, contempt and scorn.
These rules were strictly enforced.
Anyone breaking these rules could be excluded from the fellowship.
Even their first minister was excluded, there were no privileged positions.
In 1810 after two and a half years of worship in a cottage chapel
- which has long since been demolished -
a plot of land was purchased and a simple but larger building
was erected with seating for four hundred.
It stood on the same site as the present Church.
Both these first two buildings were simple, unpretentious meeting places.
However in 1873 it was decided to build a larger church.
Extra land was purchased and in 1875 the building of a
chapel in the "Italian style" was commissioned.
That building, a well known Idle landmark stood for over a hundred
years and cost £3,000 pounds. Its architecture was typical of the
change in the non-conformist buildings of that time, ornate and imposing.
In 1984 our fourth and present building was erected to
serve Idle as both a Baptist Church and a Community Centre.
It is interesting to compare our present Church to the first
Baptist Church in Idle. It is much more in keeping
with the unpretentious folk who came over from Bramley.