A CELEBRATION marking 200 years of Methodism in Earby is due to take place at St Peter’s Church, Earby on Saturday.

Early followers of John Wesley, who later became Methodists, walked to Colne or to Barnoldswick to worship often very early in the morning.

Bob Abel of the Earby and District Local History Society said: “It is 200 years since the Earby followers of John Wesley established their first church in the village.

“Prior to that, early adherents would walk to Colne or Barnoldswick to take part in worship, before meeting in cottages in Earby and later in a barn at the bottom of Stoney Bank. “

In his book History of Wesleyan Methodism in Burnley and East Lancashire, Benjamin Moore writes: “it is said that these early Methodists must have been very enthusiastic, for open air services were held as early as six o’clock in the morning, and that anyone going up Aspen Lane late at night could hear praying in almost every house”.

Mr Abel added: “The Methodist church in Earby has gone through many changes over the last 200 years with the opening of a new church in 1861 and the establishment of a day and Sunday school and finally the church moving into what was the school building.

“Not only was the church a centre for religious worship but it was also a hub of social activity.”

The bicentenary will be celebrated with an open day at St Peters Church, Riley Street, Earby on Saturday, October 9 from 10am to 4pm.

There will be various stalls and light refreshments will be served as well as lunches.

Earby and District Local History Society will also be involved and an exhibition will be on display outlining the history of the church.

To coincide with the bi centenary two books, specially researched and written by Stephanie Carter, have been published by the history society.

Methodists in Earby, Kelbrook and Salterforth and Earby Wesleyan Day School and Riley Street Council School will be on sale at the event.