A brief history


St. John's has the distinction of being the thirteenth oldest Methodist chapel in continuous use in the UK. The chapel, built of grit stone and slate, dates from 1782, and is grade 2 listed. John Wesley himself may have opened it. A Sunday school was established in 1795 in a garret in Market street, and moved to the adjoining schoolrooms in 1884. As well as biblical studies the teaching then included the 3 R's. The schoolrooms were sold in 2014 to become a nursery school. Our children's work is now delivered in a differently see  our family events page.


In the early 19th century, numerous people connected with Hayfield Methodism joined the ministry. Perhaps the most well known of these was the Rev John Barber who was twice elected to the office of  President of the Methodist Conference - a rare honour. He became known also as a defender of religious freedom, in that he roused the Methodist people into action against a Bill presented to the House of Lords in 1811, which threatened the position of dissenting non-conformists. As a result it was withdrawn.

The chapel's Pipe organ dates from 1878 and was restored in 1966. It is still well maintained and used from time to time. The chapel interior was refitted in 1908, when the porch was also added. The beautiful stained glass windows were inserted as a gift in the 1950's.  A photo gallery of them is here).

More recent additions have been the pulpit and lectern falls, commissioned from Juliet Hemingway (other customers include the Archbishop of Canterbury and Sir Cliff Richard!). Modern Tapestry at its best!

The interior has undergone further extensive redevelopment finally completed in 2001. For more information, including before and after photo galleries, please see refurbishment page.

The chapel has been in continuous use as a place of worship for approaching 250 years, by candlelight, gas light and electric light. Its congregation has worn crinolines and miniskirts. Its history is intertwined with the life of the village. Today it is a focal point for worship and service. Tomorrow it will grow and develop to God's praise and glory.

We believe we are called by Christ to enable this beautiful building to serve the needs of our village and beyond.  Please enquire if you need more detail or if you would like to help us.

Photo galleries : [The Chapel 2000] ; [The Chapel Now] ;[Events Archive]