52 residents in 52 weeks #22 Johannis Kippax

Sion Baptist church was founded in 1672 when a licence to preach in the barn of John Piccoppe was granted to the dissenting congregation in Rossendale. That much is known.

One of the elders of Sion in the 1950s, James Hardman, wrote a series of articles about the history of the chapel in which he postulated that the church was actually founded 10 years earlier at the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He argues that the rector of Newchurch, John Kippax, resigned or was ejected in 1662 and began to meet with similar dissenters in Piccoppe’s band or the adjacent house. This is couched in terms like ‘well imagine’ and ‘well picture’.

Calamy, in his ‘Nonconformist’s memorial’ (1802) includes Kippax from Newchurch in his list of ministers ejected from the Church in 1662. Kippax is also listed in Baines ‘Directory’ as having been ejected in 1662. So there is strong local support for the rumour, if not exactly contemporary.

So what is the truth?

Newchurch St Nicholas appointed a new rector in Dec 1662. This need not imply the ejection of the previous incumbent under the act of Uniformity

The Lancashire OPC transcripts for St Nicholas record Johannis Kippax, Curate, as conducting marriages and baptisms in 1661. He conducted a baptism there on 10 May 1663 and so was officiating on both sides of the Act of Uniformity.

According to ’
The Clergy Database’ he was ordained 21/12/1662 by the Archbishop of York, which is interesting if he was officiating in Newchurch before then. He was licences to preach in Haslingden St James on 3/8/1662 and in Church (probably St James at Church, Accrington) on 14/7/1668. In 1674 he is listed under ‘Churchekirk et Haslingden’

He is thought to have been incumbent at Haslingden when he died in 1679.

It is unlikely therefore that he had issues with conformity. He may have undergone a temporary suspension in 1662 due to lack of episcopical ordination. No idea how that happened.

So however romantic the story and however much the historians of Sion wanted their church to date from the Act of Uniformity, the Kippax story appears to be untrue.

Ordination 21/12/1662 by Archbishop of York (CRO EDV 2/9 1677)

Licenced 3/8/1665 Preacher Haslingdon. by George/Chester CRO, EDV 2/8 1674 Licensed to preach in :Capella de Hasleingden et alibi’. Subscribed the same day.

Licensed Curage 14/7/1668 by George/Chester as Curate and Preacher of Church alias Church Kirk Subscribed the same day CRO EDV 2/8 1674

26/7/1674 listed under ‘Churchkirke et Haslingden’
(Churchkirk usually refers to St James, Church, Accrington, though St Nicholas has been known locally as ‘Kirk Church’)

1677 visitation listed at Haslingden, also at Church

Calamy, Edmund The nonconformist’s memorial: being an account of the lives, sufferings, and printed works of the two thousand ministers ejected from the Church of England, chiefly by the act of uniformity Aug 24 1666 vol 2. 1802

Listed in ‘History, directory and gazetteer of the county palatine of Lancaster’ by Edward Baines and William Parson as having resigned/ been evicted under the Act of Uniformity from Newchurch in 1662