Churches Together in Otley

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History of The Churches in Otley         contents page  

Note: the detail below is from the 2002 edition
 of Otley Past Present and Future

Bridge Church      - United Reformed


The Society of Independents (or Congregationalists) was formed in Otley in 1821, first meeting for worship in the Assembly Rooms above the Bowling Green pub in Bondgate. The members of the Society were a mixture of native Otley people and Scottish drapers who had settled in the town. In 1825 they moved for a short time to a room behind the Black Bull (The Pump Chapel).

In 1826 they opened their first purpose built chapel, Salem Chapel, in Bridge Street, and soon called their first minister, Rev. James Swift Hastie, who was minister for nearly 50 years. A Sunday School was built to the rear in 1835 and the chapel extended in 1856. Many of Otley’s industrialists were members and the growth of the town because of that industry necessitated newer and larger buildings. A new hall and Sunday School were opened on new land to the rear in 1882 and the new Otley Congregational Church was opened in 1899 on the site of the old chapel. These are the buildings we see today. The hall was rebuilt following a major fire in 1993.

In 1972 the majority of Congregational Churches united with the Presbyterian

Church in England and became the United Reformed Church, the Otley church

adopting the name of ‘The Bridge Church’.

The Bridge Church offers many activities for young people including Beavers, Cubs, Brownies, Scouts, Guides, and Pilots. Central to all its activities is worship as the church responds to the spiritual needs of the town.