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
Sun Rise or Sun Set….. no matter which.
(C) David Oakes 2019
St. Josephs Shrine, Foxlow Edge, Errwood in the Goyt Valley on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border
A simple shrine set in some stunning moorland countryside on the Derbyshire and Cheshire county border. It was built on the once prestigious Errwood Estate by the owners of Errwood Hall in memory of a Miss (Sister) Delores who was once a treasured governess to the families children. Errwood Hall is long gone and indeed much of the surrounds are now underwater having been drowned to create a Reservoir.
It all adds to a certain sadness when one explores the valleys and moorland edges in this unique part of the Peak District. But it also a place for ramblers to pause relax and ponder.
What I also find very sad is that today is what is called the “Glorious Twelve” the day when the guns come out to shoot Grouse on the Moors. I see nothing glorious in organising parties (for not inconsiderable amounts of money) to shoot small birds that have been specially bred, released on the moors and then blasted out of the skies as they are ‘encouraged’ to fly by teams of drivers. Moors that are no longer habitat rich due to sporting land management. They call it sport…. one has to wonder. Not such a Glorious Twelve.
(C) David Oakes 2018
St. Stephens, The Chapel in the Forest, Cheshire
High above Macclesfield Forest and on the very edge of the moors stands this rugged but beautiful little church. It would appear isolated with only a Manor House, a couple of Farms and an Old School House in close proximity. It was once one of three Chapels for this rural farming area known as Macclesfield Forest, now St. Stephens is the only one that provides a regular place of worship.
Dating back to 1673 and renovated in 1834, the simple rugged exterior with its saddleback roofed square bell tower is matched by an equally rugged interior…
Simple and practical, a stone flagged floor, solid oak beams are a contrast with a more delicate white wooden pulpit and simple alter behind which a Stained Glass window adds a hint of colour. Simple though it is there is however a rather magical feel to the building and explains why folk still wish to be married here.
As mentioned St. Stephen is in an isolated location which is probably best illustrated from the graveyard with all its ancient headstones, each telling its own story…
Macclesfield Forest is the area of Rainow and Wildboarclough, that stands on the high ground to the south east of the Silk Town of Macclesfield. It is firmly and proudly in the county of Cheshire but is also on the very edge of the Derbyshire Moorlands and is within the Peal District National Park. So any inquisitive visitor will enjoy discovering this little historic gem but also a some beautiful yet vary varied scenery from wooded dales, many streams and then the open moors.
(C) David Oakes 2018