The Sunday School

Sunday School teaching began in 1784 in the old Chapel and was there until 1816 when the first School premises were built. This was a two storey building with a staircase on the outside. The following letter relates to the photograph taken between 1845 and 1850.

Photo of letter

Photo of Mount Zion Sunday School 1850

Old Sunday School Photo 1845/1850

The lower storey was a day school. It was used as such until Bradshaw Council School was built after the introduction of the Education Act of l870.On the front of the building were two foundation stones, pictured below ,and between them was a sun dial. The whereabouts of that sun dial are unknown.

Photo of foundation stone Photo of foundation stone

These two stones were put on the wall inside the new Sunday School building when foundation stones were laid on the 13th August, l887.

stone stone
stone stone

Photo of Mount Zion and Sunday School

New Sunday School


The development of the Sunday School, one of the earliest in the country, had a great deal to commend it. Not only did it give Bible Teaching and morality but also education in reading and writing which was important to enable the reading of the Bible. The children used sand in which to make their letters and later slates. There is a slate in the archives in the Chapel. By 1830 the number of scholars had risen to nearly 600. These would be adults as well as children but it is quite remarkable that in an area which is semi-rural there would be so many attending. Many must have walked long distances to get there.

There seems to have been a change of spelling of Zion. On the oldest building it has a "Z" but on the 1887 building it has an "S". Only recently we had to decide which should be used from now on and it was agreed to use the "Z".

Simeon Priestley was Chapel Keeper, Sexton, Sunday School Superintendent and many other things for forty years. His grave is beside the small gate at the back leading into the graveyard from the lane. It was paid for by public subscription. He was certainly a somewhat eccentric person - a "character" of his day but apparently not unkind. The inscriptions on his grave are most interesting.

There are many stories about Simeon. He was loved by children and he was unwilling to inflict pain as he dealt out punishment. Children, as children still do, liked making a noise and liked running up and down the outside stairs. Remember that they wore clogs and these were shod with metal plates which caused more of a clatter - and a spark if you could kick the flagstones in the right manner - much to the chagrin of those meeting in the school. Simeon was asked to deal with this "clatterin' daan". On the appointed day Simeon went to report and said, "Never mind, naah. Aw settled it all reight. Ther'll be noa moor bother. Aa, but aw did pawse (kick) one lad th' other neet. But aw hurt mysen war nar th' lad." "How did you manage that Simeon?" enquired a friend. "Well, aw thowt aw'd stop bother mysen. Aw didn't want to have a row in taitcher's meeting over th' lads, so aw hid mysen i' boiler at th' top, and aw heeared um marchin' up. Aw wur read, and paanced out, an' managed to catch one - an aw pawsed him weel, but it hurt me war nar th'e lad." "But how was that?" asked the friend. "Well you see, aw didn't like to do too much, so aw took mi clogs off before aw pawsed him." So much for corporal punishment!!! (This extract comes from "Told by the Dial" by Rev. William Walker).

The picture below shows those who served, and some who died in the European War

roll of honour


Sunday School Photo

The Sunday School today, Peat Pitts Farm


school group photo

Sunday School pupils in 1912.


sunday school

sunday school

sunday school

sunday school

sunday school

sunday school

sunday school

choir master

The photographs are by John Wharton, who features in some of them.

© Mount Zion Heritage Chapel
Page updated: March 31 2024
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