Jenkin Chapel, Saltersford, Cheshire
I am making no excuse for returning to this remote little Chapel hiding high beneath the rough moors on the border between Cheshire and Derbyshire. It stands in testament to a local farming community who decided in 1700’s that this remote location required its own place of worship. So they raised the funds, used local stone and materials and built it with there own labour, with the task being completed in 1733.
The exterior is rugged as befits the surrounds and the interior is simple and functional which does present to congregation and visitors a quiet spiritual charm.
The windows are all plain clear glass except for those over and above the alter, these were a later addition, and addition that certainly adds that little sparkle to the interior…
As you will see in the opening image the Chapel is surrounded by a traditional stone wall essential for keeping the local free roaming sheep away from the graveyard.
But why build here, at this spot. Well the clue is in the name of Saltersford. The Chapel was built were a north – south trackway crossed and east – west Salters track. Salt from the Cheshire Salt mines was trafficked along the route. At this junction a trading post was established, nothing formal just a meeting place for business transactions, a trading of goods. Why Jenkin Chapel, Jenkin isn’t a Saint’s name.
One suggestion is that it was a Welsh man called Jenkin that was instrumental in organising the trading, so it was thought a fitting name for the Chapel (true or not it sounds good)
Crowd funding today has a completely different profile….. but in the 1700’s this relied upon a very small widely dispersed population of farmers and land workers, so quite an achievement and a solid commitment to the task.
(C) David Oakes 2020