Leadgate Community History Club

Notes on the Evolution of Christianity in 

The history of religion in England was embroiled in the struggle of Church verses State, persecution was rife and the bitter struggle for dominance produced some unimaginable horrors. The 16th Century was one of the pivotal points. The Reformation (Martin Luther) and the break from the Catholic Church by Henry VIII changed the direction of religious beliefs and practices.

Martin Luther

By the turn of the 19th Century the Church of England and the Catholic Church were the two main Christian churches, still dominated by politics and social division. The common man had little power or say in how the Church was run and, as a result the Nonconformists beliefs of Evangelicalism, and Methodism took root across the land.

John Wesley preaching outside - Methodists were not allowed to preach in Parish Churches

Throughout the country most places mirrored this religious model; Leadgate being a good example. This community of around 4500, mainly working class villagers, had not only grand Churches like St Ives (Church of England) and Our Lady and St Joseph (Catholic) but a wide variety of nonconformist Chapels and Halls of Worship, Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan being the largest.

Places of Worship in Leadgate Village

St Ives  C​hurch

St Ives Church of England Leadgate was built in 1865-68, an imposing building which sits on top of a rise on St Ives Road. Schooling in the 19th Century was mostly held in Church Schools. 

St Ives 2019

A photoshoot by David Lavery

Catholic Church 
Our Lady and St Joseph Brooms

The Catholic Church, Our Lady and St Joseph, built in 1866-69 is a little way outside the village at Brooms. The Church was a place of worship for the large Irish community who resided in the area after settling in the North East as immigrant labourers in the early part of the 19th Century. Like St Ives CoE the church also built a school house to give the children of its parishioners a Church based education.

Methodist Churches

The nonconformist movement was popular with working class people, tired of the "High Church" preaching at both the CoE and Catholic churches. The simple teachings of the Wesleyan church, namely that the Church should be there for the simple worship of God and not for the good of the Church itself. This was in line with the vision of Martin Luther, who so hated the Catholic Church idolisation and the worship of statues instead of God,

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, founded in 1865 by Methodist circuit preacher William Booth in South London quickly grew into an international organisation. Their beliefs are derived from the theology of Methodism with a few exceptions; the Church members are given military titles of Soldiers and Officers and they do not embrace the rites of Baptism or Holy Communion.

The Salvation Army are a Worldwide Church, currently they have around 2,000,000 followers across the globe. The Army Motto "Blood and Fire" emblazoned on their crest refers to the Blood of Christ and the Fire of The Holy Spirit.


Brian Harrison: Peter Horsman; Peter French; James Cuthbertson; Paul Emmerson;Terry Richardson; Olwyn Dawson; Carl Southern; Andy Plant; Leadgate History Society

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