This early 16th Century building, by all accounts was a mean and unattractive one, Leyland describes it as “narrow, contracted, and unsightly.
The Bell Chapel underwent many alterations in the years leading up to the appointment of Patrick Bronte as parson in March 1815.
Born on March 17th in Drumballyroney, County Down, Ireland, he was ordained into the Church of England in 1807. In 1859 Patrick Bronte preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Haworth Church, and died two years later on the 7th June. He was 84. He outlived all of his four children and is laid to rest in Howarth Church.
The building was in poor repair when Patrick arrived, and characteristically he undertook a program of repairs. Early in his ministry he conducted there a thanksgiving service for the victory at Waterloo over Napoleon, four of Patrick’s famous children, Charlotte, Emily, Branwell and Ann were all baptised in the Old Bell Chapel during the period he was there, and the original font from the old chapel, used to baptize his children, is now on display in St James’s across the road.
Still around the year of 1815 the village of Thornton had deeply divided loyalties over religion because there was a large non-conformist following in the area at the nearby Kipping Chapel in Thornton, which was thought to be the largest of the Independent or Congregational Churches in the area and had an every increasing size of congregation. In contrast Patrick’s poor little chapel was already in a dilapidated condition so he wasted no time in trying to improve things, and one of his first actions was to stop the practice of allowing burials to take place under the chapel floor. This practice had been previously allowed, for the more wealthy locals who could afford the extra charge of a few shillings, but this was causing a putrid smell to permeate the building. Someone described the interior of the chapel at the time as follows: “The interior is blocked on the ground floor, with high backed unpainted pews. Two Galleries hid the windows almost from view and cast a gloom over the interior of the edifice. The area under the pews, and in the isles is paved with gravestones and a fedit, musty smell floats through the damp and mouldering interior”.
After the building and consecration of the Church of St James it first became a ruin, with the font being used over the road in the Church of St James. Today, all that remains is a small room "vestry" and the cupola which is originally from the top of the original tower and the above mentioned font.
The Graveyard of the old chapel had over 6000 burials from the 1500's onwards with the last one taking place in 1965.
A Masonic grave in the graveyard. Here's what it all means.
The all seeing eye
Freemasonry employs a mystical eye in its imagery known throughout the occult world as the all-seeing eye. This symbol is used to show an immortal being.
Blue Lodge Masons are taught that the Square is to remind them that they must be square in their dealings with all men.
The real meaning of the square and compass is sexual. The Square represents the female. and the Compass represents the male.
The sun, moon and stars
The sun, moon and stars, known in Scripture as the host of heaven, are found to be to the fore of Masonic imagery.
Freemasonry uses many other symbols such as keys, blindfold, a sword pointing to the heart, a 'mystical ladder, a coffin' and many more. All these symbols carry a hidden occult significance, which can only be comprehended by acquiring knowledge provided during ritual initiation. This teaching and imagery is common to all secret societies and is shared also with Mormonism and the New Age movement.