First Church – Green Lane Chapel
The first building used regularly by the Methodists in Otley was a cottage in the Cambridge area. The cottage was built in 1750 by three local men, all property owners in the town: Nathan Aked, William Maude, and Enoch Neale were all members of Methodist families. The first Methodists in the town held meetings and worshipped at the cottage, and the property became known as Green Lane chapel. Before using this cottage it is likely that early meeting were held in the open air, houses, or barns.
Although this cottage was only built in 1750 we know that Methodism arrived in the town several years before this date and this was mainly due to the impassioned preaching of John Nelson, a stonemason from Birstall. Nelson was converted to Methodism during a sermon by John Wesley at Moorfields in 1739. Other important men in bringing Methodism to Otley were Rev William Grimshaw (curate of Haworth and third in the Methodist hierarchy), William Darney of Menston and Jonathan Maskew of Burley-in-Wharfedale.
The preacher at this time was John Brettell, described in the town records as ‘Otley Methodist Preacher’. He died in 1796 and was buried in the parish Churchyard. Another appointed preacher in the late 18th century was a man by the name of Howard.
Otley was officially recognised as a Methodist society in the Keighley Circuit
in 1755, four years before the first visit of John Wesley to the town. During
the 1760s the number of Methodists meeting at the cottage grew dramatically
and it was decided that a proper chapel should be built. At this time the Methodist
Society operated within the Church of England – Methodists were simply
labelled ‘dissenters’ - , however by the turn of the century Methodism
broke from the Church of England and the Methodist Church was established, an
idea John Wesley disagreed with but he died in 1791.
Although originally one building, Green Lane chapel was converted into two attached cottages in 1865 when the railway line was put through Otley. The two cottages were used to house railway men, but were demolished in 1965.