Administrative / Biographical History

The Reverend James Scholefield, sometimes referred to as Dr James Schofield, was born on 6 April 1790 near Huddersfield. Scholefield joined the Bible Christian Church (not the Methodist sect) in 1809 on its foundation, and in 1824 founded the Christ Church Chapel in Every Street, Ancoats, Manchester. In connection with his ministry, Scholefield was a teetotaller and vegetarian, and around 1851 published a pamphlet on vegetarianism. Scholefield was not paid for his ministry and relied on income from other sources. He was a successful undertaker with a large graveyard at the Chapel, and he developed his own 'Safety tomb' to protect graves from grave-robbers. Scholefield also gained an income from his medical practice, although he was not qualified he apparently studied medicine, and was practising before the Act of 1815 which required qualifications. He was relied on for treatment by the working classes in Ancoats and also patented a concoction called 'Scholefield's Cholera Mixture', which was popular for a number of decades. Scholefield was a radical reformer, in 1842 he allowed the Chartist conference to be held in his chapel, and the same year arranged for an obelisk to be erected there in memory of Henry Hunt, the politician and reformer who had died in the Peterloo Massacre. Scholefield died on 24 April 1855 and was buried in Every Street, the gravestone of his family is the only one that survives. Every Street chapel was later used by the University of Manchester Settlement. In 1934 a play written by Mary Stocks about the life of Scholefield was performed in the chapel. The material has been divided into two files, the first containing information collected by Leech, the second containing contemporary material relating to Scholefield.

Related Material

See also MMC/14/11/4 for information about Scholefield's proprietary tomb.