[From H Stowell Brown, Notes of my Life, 1888]



I EXTRACT the following brief calendar from the Church minute-book:

Church formed in Church Lane, July 1800, by members from Byrom Street Church.

Lime Street Chapel opened, October 1803 ; taken down for town improvements, January 1844.

Myrtle Street Chapel opened, 10th January, 1844; side galleries added, 1851 ; further enlargement, 1859 ; other alterations, 1879.

PETER AITKEN, first Pastor, elected 13th April, 1801 ; died 1st October, 1801, aged 22 years.
JAMES LISTER, chosen Pastor, 6th June, 1803 ; resigned through failing health, 6th March, 1847 ; died, 23rd November, 1851, aged 72 years.
HUGH STOWELL BROWN, entered upon the pastorate 1st January, 1848; 25th anniversary celebrated, January 1873.
Princes Gate Chapel—foundation stone laid, 1st July, 1879 ; opened, 20th March, 1881.
St. Helens Chapel opened, 29th September, 1869.
Widnes Chapel opened, 25th July, 1873.
Earlestown New Chapel opened, 7th November, 1881 ; additions, 1884.
Mill Street Mission commenced, 1849 ; new building, 1377.
Solway Street Mission begun, 1867; enlarged, 1868; and again in 1874 and 1884.
Juno Street Mission begun, May 1878.
Aughton Mission taken up, 1879.
Prescot Mission adopted, January 1884.

The first entry in the Church book is dated the 12th May, 1800. It records the election to the pastorate of the Church in Byrom Street of the Rev. Richard Davis, and the dissatisfaction of a few of the members with his appointment.

The Church had then just been deprived by death of its beloved pastor, the venerable Samuel Medley ; and as sometimes happens under such circumstances, differences of opinion arose as to the doctrines taught by his successor. The dissentients from Mr. Davis’ election were 22 in number, and they severed themselves from membership with the Byrom Street Church. On the 29th June, 1800, they opened a meeting-house in Church Lane. On the 13th April, 1801, their numbers had increased to 44, and they then invited the Rev. Peter Aitken of Accrington to be their pastor. Mr. Aitken was a young man of great promise, and in the brief period he was permitted to labour, endeared himself to the members of his little Church. It appears, however, that some of ‘the brethren’ found it as difficult to resign themselves to his ministry as they did to that of Mr. Davis, for, on his appointment, 11 members resigned and formed themselves into a separate community. This offshot established itself in Matthew Street. Mr. Aitken’s ministry was but of a very brief duration. A little more than three months after his taking charge of the Church in Church Lane his health gave way, and on the 2nd of October, 1801, he died. The Church had ample cause to mourn his loss. During his short pastorate peace and brotherly love prevailed, and things went well. But, immediately after his death, affairs greatly changed for the worse. Contention and strife took possession of the little community, and at last matters were so bad that it was resolved, "owing to the distracted and divided state of the Church," to dissolve the membership. This was done on the 13th June, 1802, on which date—after the dissolution of the old Church—25 persons re-united themselves in Church fellowship, and thus the Church was formed anew.

The new Church at first invited the Rev. Thomas Hassell, of Newcastle, to preach for it, and he was to have remained in charge for 12 months. From some cause or other this arrangement fell through ; and in the February of 1803 Mr. Lister, then pastor of a Church in Glasgow, was invited to supply the pulpit, and on the14th June, 1803, he formally accepted the pastorate. In the previous March, land had been purchased, and the foundation-stone of a new chapel laid in Lime Street. To this new place of worship the Church, which then numbered 45 members, moved in the October of 1803. The cost of the new building was about £1,900. In 1809 the Church had grown to 90 members: in 1818,to 159. The first Sunday school connected with the Church was opened on the ioth March. 1816, in a room in Bolton Street. There were 18 teachers, and 54 scholars. In 1819 or 1820 (it is not quite certain which), new schools and a new vestry were added to "the meeting-house." In 1836, 16 years afterwards, the Church was engaged in a special effort "to raise £500 to pay off the debt on the school-room." In 1841 the Corporation of Liverpool purchased the Chapel in Lime Street, the land being wanted for town improvements.

On the 4th October, 1842, the foundation-stone of the present chapel in Myrtle Street was laid, and on the 10th January, 1844, the building was opened for public worship.

On the 6th March, 1847, Mr. Lister was, from failing health, compelled to resign the pastorate, which for 44 years he had so faithfully and so successfully held. On the 22nd August, 1847, I was invited to supply the pulpit. On the 12th November following I was invited to accept the pastorate, and on the 1st January, 1848, I commenced my pastoral labours. The Church then consisted of 239 members.

In May, 1851, side galleries were erected in the chapel.

On the 23rd November, 1851, the Rev. James Lister died, aged 72. A short time before his death he sent a letter to the Church and congregation in Myrtle Street Chapel, expressing his "joy and delight in the prosperity which attended the Church, in the increase of members and the increase of hearers, and in the union and harmony which had been maintained." The letter also contained an earnest prayer for the usefulness and long life of the present pastor, "that he might be honoured to preach faithfully, laboriously, and affectionately Christ and Him crucified." This letter was read to the Church at the Lord’s Table, on Sunday, the 2nd November, 1851, just a few weeks before Mr. Lister’s death. The Records contain a note of the Church’s gratitude to God for having so long spared its venerable pastor, and for his long and useful course of ministerial labour.

On the 26th May, 1854, the Church resolved that, instead of pew to pew collections being made, "boxes should be placed in the chapel to receive the weekly offerings of all persons attending."

On the 25th September, 1859, the chapel was re-opened after having undergone the alterations which enlarged it to its present size, the cost of which was about £4400.

In May, 1862, a number of persons at Laffak, near St. Helens, expressed their desire for baptism and member ship with the Church. In the following June, 22 persons of this company were baptised in Myrtle Street Chapel. In February of 1866, owing in a great degree to the liberality of the late Mr. Shanks, it was resolved to build a chapel in St. Helens. This resolution was carried into effect, and the chapel opened on 29th September, 1869. The Church at St. Helens is still a branch of this Church, and is under the pastoral care of the Rev. W. C. Tayler, who has also charge of the Earlestown Church. There are 95 members on the St. Helens roll.

In January, 1871, application was made to the Church by a few friends meeting in Rylands Street, Warrington, to be united to the Myrtle Street fellowship as a branch Church. In 1876 they purchased a chapel in Golborne Street, Warrington, and in 1882 they withdrew from the membership of the Myrtle Street Church, feeling then strong enough to carry on their work as a separate community.

Application for membership was made in January, 1872, by twelve friends meeting in Widnes. Through the liberality of friends in Liverpool and Widnes they were able to purchase a small chapel. During the current year, 1884, the Rev. R. Yeatman has been unan imously invited to the pastorate of the Widnes branch. There are now 34 members in fellowship at Widnes.

In January, 1873, the Church celebrated the completion of the 25th year of my pastorate. In commemoration of this silver wedding a sum of about £1500 was raised, which was appropriated, principally to the enlargement of Solway Street Mission Station, to Mill Street Mission Station, and to chapel purposes.

In the year 1875 a few persons who had been in the habit of meeting together for worship in a room in Earlestown applied for fellowship and were admitted as a branch of the Church. In 1880 it was arranged that the Rev. W. C. Tayler, of St. Helens, should be joint pastor of the St. Helens and Earlestown Churches. This arrangement has been found to work very satisfactorily; from the commencement of their union, as a Church, the Earlestown friends kept steadily in view the desirability of erecting a suitable place of worship, and laid by small sums annually for this purpose. In November 1881, the object desired was, with the help of friends, attained, and an exceedingly neat chapel built; additional class-rooms erected in 1884, at a cost of £50. The membership at Earlestown is now 76.

In March, 1881, the Myrtle Street Church parted with 26 of its members, who went to form the nucleus of the Church meeting in the newly-built chapel at Princes Gate.

The Mission Stations which have been established in connection with the chapel are :—Mill Street, the oldest, which was commenced in 1849, and was enlarged in 1877. Solway Street, which was commenced in 1867, enlarged in 1868, enlarged again in 1874, and new class rooms added 1884. Juno Street opened in May, 1878, and Aughton and Prescot, the former of which was placed in charge of the Myrtle Street Church in 1879, and the latter in the current year, 1884.

At the close of the eighty-fourth year of the Church’s existence, it has—




593 members worshipping in












Making a total of 849.


I thank God that the Church has not gone back at all under my ministry. The membership is a fair test of a Church’s prosperity. I took it over from Mr. Lister with 239 members, it is now 849 strong; and I hope when the time comes for me to lay down the pastorate, I may hand it over to my successor unimpaired in strength, vigour, and numbers.

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