in 1657 with the introduction of church discipline in the presbyterian way. Hitherto his parishioners had been united in attachment to his ministry; the discipline divided them, and ‘sincere Christians’ became his ‘greatest trouble;’ his communion list reached seventy-three names. He persevered against opposition, declining calls to one of the two churches of St. Martin, York, and to the vicarage of Preston.
Heywood was a royalist presbyterian, and though he took no part in the insurrection under George Booth, first lord Delamere [q. v.], he disobeyed the order requiring a public thanksgiving for its suppression, and was accordingly apprehended and threatened with sequestration in August 1659. On the news that Monck had declared for the king, he breaks out in his diary into a psalm of praise. With the Restoration, however, his serious troubles began. Richard Hooke, the new vicar of Halifax, prohibited baptism in the outlying chapelries. Heywood continued to baptise, making his peace by sending the customary perquisites to the vicar. On 23 Jan. 1661 his ‘private fast’ was stopped by authority. Among his parishioners an influential party, headed by Stephen Ellis of Hipperholme, the man of most substance in the chapelry, was in favour of the resumption of the prayer-book. A copy was accordingly laid on the pulpit cushion on 25 Aug. 1661. Heywood quietly set it aside. At the instigation of Ellis, Heywood was cited to York on 13 Sept. After several hearings his suspension from ministering in the diocese of York was published on 29 June 1662 in Halifax Church. For two or three Sundays he persisted in preaching; within a month of the taking effect of the Uniformity Act (24 Aug. 1662) he was excommunicated, the sentence of excommunication being publicly read in Halifax Church on 2 Nov., in the parish church of Bolton, Lancashire, on 4 Jan. 1663, and again at Halifax on 3 Dec. 1663. Hence attempts were made to exclude him from churches, even as a hearer; while, on the other hand, Ellis, as churchwarden, claimed fines for his non-attendance at Coley Chapel, under the statute of Elizabeth. John Angier [q. v.], his father-in-law, admitted him to the communion at Denton Chapel, Lancashire; on 5 June 1664 he preached, by the vicar's invitation, in the parish church of Mottram-in-Longen Dale, Cheshire; and on 13 Aug. 1665 he preached at Shadwell Chapel, near Leeds, Hardcastle, the minister, being then in prison for nonconformity.
Though according to law a ‘silenced’ minister, Heywood persistently held conventicles at the houses of the presbyterian gentry and farmers, in open defiance of the act of 1664. On the passing of the Five Mile Act (1665) he left his residence (at that time Coley Hall), but only to become an itinerant evangelist throughout the northern counties. It was his opinion that this act, by carrying the ejected ministers into new localities, promoted rather than hindered the nonconformist cause. Taking advantage of his successor's absence, he preached at Coley Chapel on the first Sunday of 1668 to ‘a very great assembly;’ his appearances in the pulpits of parish churches were frequent at this time. At length, on 13 March 1670, he was apprehended after preaching at Little Woodhouse, near Leeds, but was released two days after. His goods, however, were seized (13 July) to meet the fine under the new Conventicle Act, which came into force on 10 May. Under the royal indulgence of 1672 he took out two licenses as a presbyterian ‘teacher,’ one (20 April) for his own house at Northowram, the other (25 July) for the house of John Butterworth at Warley in the parish of Halifax. Over a hundred of his former parishioners entered with him (12 June) into a church covenant void of presbyterian peculiarities, and hence joined (18 June) by the members of a congregational church gathered at Sowerby Chapel in Halifax parish, by Henry Root (d. 20 Oct. 1669). On 29 Oct. 1672 he took part in the first ordination by presbyterians of the north since the Restoration, held in Deansgate, Manchester, at the house of Robert Eaton, an ejected divine, afterwards minister of Stand, Lancashire. When the licenses were recalled (February 1675) Heywood resumed his itinerant labours. He is said in a single year to have travelled 1,400 miles, preached 105 times, besides Sunday duty, and kept fifty fast days and nine of thanksgiving. He assisted in the first presbyterian ordination in Yorkshire, at Richard Mitchel's house in Craven, on 8 July 1678. On 16 Jan. 1685 he was convicted at the Wakefield sessions for ‘a riotous assembly’ in his house. Refusing to pay a fine of 50l. and to give sureties for good behaviour, he was imprisoned in York Castle from 26 Jan. to 19 Dec. He approved of James's declaration (1687) for liberty of conscience, and at once set about building a meeting-house at Northowram (opened 8 July 1688), to which he subsequently added a school. The first master was David Hartley (appointed 5 Oct. 1693), father of David Hartley (1705–1757) [q. v.] the philosopher. His meeting-house was licensed under the Toleration Act on 18 July 1689.
Heywood was one of the many nonconformist divines who attended solemn fasts