In 1867, Halton was in a decade of decline following the closure of the village cotton mills in 1862. In order to provide a “Divine Service” every Sunday evening, in the hope of “restraining the Sabbath-breaking pursuits which were becoming common”, a faithful few established a Congregational Fellowship under the guidance of the Independent Church in St. Leonard’s Gate, Lancaster (later to become the Centenary Church). The Fellowship met in a converted barn on the low road, opposite the Greyhound Inn.
In 1870, the mills re-opened, having been taken over by the oil-cloth and matting industries. As a result, the village population increased, due to the influx of workers to the mills and so did the Chapel congregation. By 1895, with the meeting room bursting at the seams, a committee was formed to search for a site and oversee the building of a new Chapel. Money was raised (including a donation from Lord Ashton) and the Deeds were signed for the purchase of land on the High Road on 7th September 1897. Foundation stones were laid in March 1898 and the building completed by September of that year at a total cost of £1,000. The former Chapel on the Low Road continued in use as the Parish Room until 1964; it was then sold and converted to a private cottage. Also in 1964 the Centenary Church in Lancaster closed and a link was formed with Hest Bank Chapel. Over the years, the faithful congregation worked hard to ensure that the building was extended and improved, inside and out, to keep pace with the times and the size of the congregation.
The Congregational Church of England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England were united by an Act of Parliament in 1972 and celebrated by a service in Westminster Abbey. In 1981 they were joined by the Reformed Association of the Churches of Christ to become the United Reformed Church.
In 1979 the Lancaster North Team was formed, consisting of Halton, Hest Bank, Bolton-le-Sands and Cross Hill Churches, the Team being served by two Ministers. This team continued until the closure of Cross Hill Church and the three remaining churches were then served by only one Minister, the Revd.Yolande Burns. Yolande Retired on 27th March 2016
Despite the many changes in circumstances, Halton United Reformed Church thrives with a growing membership and a very healthy Junior Church. Regular Sunday worship and Junior Church is held at 9.30 a.m. and Holy Communion is included in the service on the first Sunday of each month.
Situated in the centre of the village, the Church stands off the road, fronted by neat, bordered lawns and displays a large, simple cross on the main wall. Ideally placed to serve the village community, the building is used by various groups of all ages throughout the week.
A warm and friendly welcome is extended to all visitors, whether passing through, on holiday or moving into the area we will be delighted to meet you.