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Religion in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

One of the unresolved features of this history is the religion of the first settlers. As shown on the Growth page, there are very few records of births, marriages and deaths in the registers of any of the local churches of the time, Almondbury, Huddersfield, Scammonden and Slaithwaite, certainly not enough for a community to survive. (Registration had been a legal requirement since the times of Henry VIII.)

In attempting to explain these omissions, it is worth remembering that the second half of the seventeenth century, the times of the first records from Scapegoat Hill, were those when religious dissent was not tolerated under the law. Perhaps the remote and forbidding setting was seen by those early settlers as somewhere they could worship in relative safety, probably meeting in their own houses.

That mystery is further compounded by the development of Baptism in the village. Salendine Nook Baptist Church opened in 1689, one of the first in the country and then Pole Moor Baptist Church opened in 1788 but there are very few records from either of these. However, in 1808, shortly after the arrival of a new, and high Calvinist minister at Pole Moor, regular records occur. Perhaps only then had a suitable form of worship been provided for the residents of a village which may very well have grown up around a shared set of religious values

Robert Meeke, who was curate at Slaithwaite church, kept a diary between 1689 and 1704. He never mentions visiting Scapegoat Hill, although he does visit Golcar and Wellhouse, sometimes performing baptism at a house.


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