In the history of Bay there are many references to church, chapel and clergymen with occasional mention of Quakers. One of the earlier references to Quakers in STORM AND COMANY is in the early 1700s when Mary Storm (1711- ), daughter of Matthew (1676-1757), shipowner, marries secondly Benjamin Chapman of Whitby who belongs to the well known Quaker family. Matthew himself happens to be a joint trustee of a bequest that provides a Congregational minister's salary in Whitby. Another reference to the Quakers is the marriage of Hannah Storm (1833- ), daughter of Sampson, to George Galilee, sailmaker and shipowner, and Quaker.

At about the same time Isaac Storm (1679-1720), shipowner, leaves a silver watch and gold ring to his friend Reverend William Hauxwell the Fylingdales curate.

At the Quarter Sessions of Helmsley January 15th 1705-6 the house of Mr James Gildersheire, in Robin Hood's Bay, was set apart for divine worship for Protestant Dissenters (J H Bloom's Retrospect)

There were marriages to clergymen such as when Frances Storm (1806-1891), daughter of William, married secondly a non-conformist clergyman Reverend Charles Brighouse. Another prominent event was when Martha Storm (1822-1903) married Reverend Thomas Philips (1822-1880) who was Congregational Minister in Robin Hood's Bay for 32 years. His grand daughter, Nan Philips, who died in 1981 aged 93 was an elder of the United Reform Church. Mary Storm, daughter of Matthew ( -1787), shipowner, married in 1807 the Reverend John Pomeroy Gilbert (1779-1853) who was the Prebendary of Exeter cathedral and the son of Reverend Edmund Gilbert.

The Congregational Church that became the United Reform can be seen to the right of the photograph. Standing in Fisherhead it's position and size displays the importance of church and chapel in Bay.

Photograph by Robert W.M. Storm taken November 2008 from the upper floor of the Victoria Hotel.

Mary Elizabeth Grainger Harland (1847-1934), granddaughter of Robin Hood's Bay shipowner John Harland (1793-1872) and Elizabeth nee Grainger (1797-1876), married the Rev John Nicholls in Whitby Methodist Church in 1869. They emigrated to Canada and in 1946 his obituary in the Montreal Gazette read " his 58th year, was born in 1840, and came to Canada in September 1874, where he at once connected himself with the Prebyterian church, and for 22 years has been pastor of St Mark's. He was a member of the Protestant Ministerial Association, editor of the Bible Reporter, and was a frequent contributor to the press.......".

Another prominent Congregational minister (and village historian) Reverend William Dalton married Mary, the daughter of Frances Storm (1822-1904) and William Harrison Steel. Margaret Storm, daughter of Edward(1817-1908) and who was baptised in Whitby Wesleyan Chapel, married James Egan Harmston whose name is in the Wesley hall in Church Street.

A well known clergyman was Reverend Robert Jermyn Cooper, vicar of Fylingdales. When he first arrived in 1859 and found the Old St Stephens Church to be too remote he built the new church by 1870; a little man of great authority and abiding influence.

There are interesting connections with the wider world. Thus John Matthew Storm's brother in law, Harrison Baxter, shipowner, who presided over the new chapel in 1890 was the great nephew of William Cobb. William was a pioneer of Bay chapel and was related by marriage to the Reverend Dr Robert Newton, four times President of the Methodist Conference. Jacob Storm ( -1926) knew Dr Robert Newton's brothers, Thomas and Francis. It might also be mentioned that Jacob's cousin, Jane Ireland, was a benefactress of Thorpe Chapel, and her grandfather, Samuel Ireland, was a leading trustee of Bay Chapel.

A further connection of some note is that of the Jacksons - well known Wesleyan clergymen. Jacob's Great Aunt Elizabeth Storm (1741-1795) married secondly John Spink, customs officer. Their daughter Esther married Jonathan Fiske and their daughter married 1838 Reverend Thomas Jackson MA (1812-1886), Prebendary of St Pauls Cathedral. Thomas Jackson's father was also Thomas and he was a Wesleyan minister who had been President of the Wesleyan Conference in 1838 and 1849. Thomas's son Reverend Blomfield Jackson MA was also Prebendary of St Pauls Cathedral. Furthermore Thomas's uncle, Samuel (1786-1861), was also a Wesleyan minister and had been President of the Wesleyan Conference held at Liverpool. Sadly he died during the Wesleyan conference held at Newcastle in August 1861.

A curious aside is that Reverend Blomfield married 1867 Elizabeth Ann "Bessie" Beck (1840-1904) who was a Quaker and had been brought up within a prominent Quaker environment of Beck and Lucas families. It can only be assumed that "Bessie" converted to the established church before marriage.

The scene then shifts to France. A sister of the Reverend Thomas, Mary Ann Jackson (1814-1874), married 1834 Antoine Theophile Marzials, a Protestant Pastor. He became Pastor of the French Protestant church in London but he had been born in 1809 in Cailar, Gard. This was a well known protestant region and, so much so, it has been said that the King of France had sent troops to that region in order to subdue their beliefs.

Antoine's sister was Julie Marzials who married Charles Cook (1787-1858), a prominent missionary in Europe; and at least two of their sons were also missionaries. Charles was born in London but from 1818 until his death he worked in France and Switzerland principally in Nimes and Lausanne. An evangelical preacher he was the first president of a French/Swiss Methodist 'Conference' in 1852.

One becomes increasingingly aware of missionary zeal as one traces family connections. Thus a descendant of Andrew Harrison 1734-1763 & Elizabeth Storm 1741-1795, Elizabeth Salisbury Harrison 1830-1906, married a Thomas Coke Squance. Thomas's father was Thomas Hall Squance 1790-1869 who entered the Methodist ministry in 1812 and then went out to India with Dr Thomas Coke where he is said to have given the first ever Methodist sermon in Asia. He was one of the founders of Jaffna College, Columbo.

One cannot refer to the nonconformist ministry generally without drawing attention to the fact that John Wesley himself had visited Robin Hood's Bay and given sermons.
The following is taken from Jacob Storm's copy of extracts from John Wesley's Journal by Coke.

On his first visit to Robin Hood's Bay he says of them and their town:

Tuesday May 8th 1753,
I rode from Stockton to Robin Hood's Bay near Whitby. The town is very remarkably situated; stands close to the sea, and is in great part built on craggy and steep rocks, some of which rise perpendicular from the water, and yet the land both on the north, south and west is fruitful and well cultivated. I stood on a little rising near the quay in a warm still evening and exhorted the multitude of people from all parts - "To seek the Lord while he may be found". They were all attention and most of them met me again at half an hour after four in the morning.

I would gladly have spent some days here; but my stages were fixed so Wednesday 9th I rode on to York.

Thursday July 7 1757.
I found my way to Robin Hood's bay and preached on the quay to the greater part of the town; all (except one or two, who were very wise in their own eyes) seemed to receive the truth in love.

Sunday 10th
I preached at seven on "Repent and believe the Gospel" at the Church, which stands on the hill, a mile from the town. We had a sound useful sermon. Afterwards I preached at a little village called Normanby; and about five on the quay.

In the evening talking with the Society, I saw more than ever the care of God over them that fear him. What was it that stopped their growing in Grace? Why, they had a well meaning preacher among them who was inflaming them more and more against the Clergy. Nor could I advise them to attend the public ordinances for he never went either to Church or Sacrament himself. This I knew not; but God did, and his wise providence prevented the consequences which would naturally have ensued.

William Manuel was pressed for a soldier, so the people go to Church and Sacrament as before.

Sunday July 8th 1759
I went to the Quay where a large congregation was waiting, and all behaved well, but an honest tar, who was much disturbed at my saying "No man is delivered from the fear of death, but he that fears God".

Wednesday June 24 1761
Preached in the lower street, and in the midst of the sermon a large cat, frightened out of a chamber window, leaped down upon a woman's head, and ran over the heads and shoulders of many more; but none of them moved or cried out any more than if it had been a butterfly.

Saturday June 19th 1784
About One I preached to another congregation of plain people at Robin Hood's Bay. Here was the first Society in all these parts, several years before there was any at Whitby. But their continual jars with each other prevented their increase either in grace or number, at present they seem to be all at peace; so I hope we shall now have joy over them.

John Wesley

It is recorded in stone that John Wesley also visited Robin Hood's Bay on 28 July 1779 when he attended the preaching house in Chapel Street. This old chapel was rebuilt in 1841 when it was helped by the purchase of land from Taylor Storm. It flourished as a centre point for Bay life for worship, entertainment and education until the last service was held there in 1937. In 2004 it became SWELL - an establishment incorporating a welcoming cafe bar, gift shop, concert hall, cinema and conference facility.