The Methodist Chapel, Grindleford (1999)

Recent Photograph of The Methodist Chapel (1999) (Grindleford)

Methodism may have first arrived in Grindleford as early as 1766. John Wesley, in his Journal for the period 27th May 1765 to 18th May 1768 records that on Thursday 27th March 1766, “I preached in the morning at a little village, near Eyam, in the High-Peak. The eagerness with which the poor people devoured the word, made me amends for the cold ride over the snowy mountains”.

The little village is reputedly Grindleford Bridge, and he may have been travelling there from Sheffield, as his entry for 2 days before (March 25th) describes preaching at “Creitch” [Crich], and “thence we rode on through several heavy showers of snow to Sheffield, where, at six, we had a numerous congregation. There has been much disturbance here this winter. But to night all was peace”.

Wesley's visit may have been a consequence of an abortive attempt to introduce Methodism to Eyam in 1765. William Wood, in The History and Antiquities of Eyam (1842) describes Mr. Matthew Mayer, of Portwood-hall, near Stockport preaching twice at Eyam that year, and meeting with so much hostility that he each time narrowly escaped with life. Thereafter the mass of the villagers would not suffer the preachers to come into the village... the few converts to the new doctrine repaired to Grindleford Bridge, where the preachers were not molested.

Thereafter various directories record a Methodist Chapel in Grindleford Bridge, built in 1830. Nothing remains now of this building as it was replaced by the present Chapel, which opened in 1905.

The following inscriptions may be found on the Foundation Stones, and were kindly provided by Alf Beard, 25th March 2004 - which ironically happens to be just 100 years after it was laid:

The Names of the persons who laid the foundations
stones to Grindleford Methodist Church, Easter 1904

Mrs BROMLEY in memory of her
Husband Joseph Sykes BROMLEY
Mr George COOPER Jnr
Mrs John KENYON, for ladies sewing class
Mrs E S BRAMWELL, of Sheffield
Mrs E J BRAMWELL of Sheffield
Mary Bromley HILL in memory of her uncle
Joseph ANDREW, Easter 1904

The Joseph Andrew mentioned on the stone is the son of Joseph Andrew, the Minister recorded for the Chapel in Harrod's Directory of Derbyshire, 1870; the Bromley, Sykes, Kenyon, and Hill were all members of the same family.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie/Patricia Andrew)

Image contributed by Andrew McCann on 9th April 1999.
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