Celebrating 400 yrs of the
Brontë Bell Chapel

Welcome to ‘The Old Bell Chapel Action Group’ Homepage

By visiting

The Old Bell Chapel Action Group is all about community. If you would like to visit, volunteer or donate to the project please get in touch with our Group Coordinator, Steve Stanworth.

Click here to go to the contact us page.

This year we are celebrating 400 years of St. James Church in Thornton. In the grounds (and graveyard) opposite the modern day St. James Church on Thornton Road in Thornton, you will discover the remains of a building with interesting architecture and a very interesting history.

Before 1612 the building was known as ‘Saint Leonards’.  For those who enjoy their historical facts, this was at the time when King James was on the throne and a year earlier, in 1611, the King James bible was first published.

After this date the name changed to ‘Saint James’.  No one knows the reason for the name change.  All we do know, is that a group of local people, including Precilla Bannister and the local freemasons, with the Lord of the Manor, rebuilt the existing chapel and changed the name to St James.  

In more recent times we have come to affectionately know the building as ‘Bell Chapel’ or ‘Brontë Bell Chapel’.  ‘Brontë Bell Chapel’ is a reference to one of the most recognised times in the Chapel’s history. The Brontë’s were the most famous people baptised in the chapel and Patrick Brontë preached there from 1815 -1820. Thornton village is also the birthplace of the these famous literary figures.

Future Project //

We are in the process of writing a publication to celebrate 400 years. It will combine historical information and prints, with a selection of art work and photography.  

Could you help us to fund our publication?

If so, Steve, our Group Coordinator, would love to hear from you.

By volunteering

By donating

Anniversary Art Festival 2012 Promotional Painting by Neil Bird NOW available as Christmas Cards for just £4.99 (Pack of 10).

Get yours to send to family and friends from Steve Stanworth.

To find out more click here