Visitors to Holy Rood are often caught quite unawares by their first sight of the interior where a wealth of brick, marble and wood, convey a sense of splendour and dignity, in direct contrast to the exterior which is plain and almost unadorned.
The beginnings of the Wesleyan Reform Union go back to 1849, when numbers of people within the Wesleyan Church thought to be responsible for the preparation and publication of ‘fly sheets’ were arbitrarily expelled by the Wesleyan Conference. These ‘fly sheets’ were held to be critical of the Wesleyan Church (which joined with the Primitive and United Methodists to form the Methodist Church in 1932). Many of those ejected in this way, plus their many followers who stood for religious freedom, began to worship regularly from 1851 in the largest building in Barnsley, the Corn Exchange. On the 26th January 1857, the ‘Reformers’ held a ‘Day of humiliation, fasting, thought and prayer’ for guidance. Later they held a meeting in the vestry of Salem Congregational Church, kindly loaned to them for the occasion. They set up a committee to look into the purchase of the Salem premises from the Congregationalists. They negotiated and on the 28th July 1857, the sale was agreed. The purchase price was £600, a considerable sum in 1857! Payment was made in instalments over six months, the final payment of £100 being made on the 19th May 1858. Salem Wesleyan Reform Chapel opened on the 19th August 1858 and the adjoining schoolroom on the 15th November 1858.
The sanctuary area of Salem is a Grade II listed building that had substantial capital expenditure in 2008 on re-roofing, electrical works and repairs to the pipe organ. The interior of the sanctuary is traditional, with an impressive high central pulpit beneath the organ loft.
In Salem church there is a beautiful plaque given to commemorate the work of the Taylor family at Salem and also to acknowledge the work of God’s humble servant Hudson Taylor who took the gospel to the heart of, ‘The Chinese Nation’. Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission in 1865.