Greygarth Chapel

Past, Present And Future

John Wesley 1703 – 1791 15th of 19 children born to Samuel Wesley, Rector of Epworth, and Susanna.

  • He became a Curate to his father
  • He believed that Christian living depended on acts as well as faith.
  • Wesley was vocal about ordinary people being excluded from the church, and was often barred from the pulpit for his opinions. So he began to address the public in open areas, giving rise to ‘Field preaching’ as a feature of Methodism. He avoided Ripon because it was a cathedral city and disliked fashionable society.

John Wesley continued to travel the country where he mainly visited poor neighbourhoods, and most of the people who attended his meetings were industrial workers or agricultural labourers. Wesley’s main message was of God’s love. He told the people who attended his meetings that if they loved God in return, they would “be saved from sin and made holy”. He encouraged people to work hard and to save for the future and warned against the dangers of gambling and drinking. Although there were Methodist ministers, John Wesley encouraged people who had full-time jobs to become lay preachers. This gave working people valuable experience of speaking in public.

Methodism Comes to Dallowgill
In 1774 Mary Barritt, a travelling preacher from Colne, came to preach at Dallowgill. She had been preaching in Nidderdale and records show that 36 people came to hear her preach at Dallowgill. She stayed overnight at a nearby house, being woken up to sing hymns and pray by enthusiastic locals!

Mary Barritt
Mary Barritt

The 19th Century
In 1795 the Ripon Methodist Circuit was formed and Dallowgill was part of this.
George Wharton was a Local Preacher from Dalagill in the Ripon Circuit. He died aged 112 and is buried in Kirkby churchyard. Jonathan Graham, Preacher, mentions that services were held in an old house on Coal Hill in Bowes Fields, but no date known.
It is also said that meetings were held at 2 houses called Piney Park, which were between Harper Hill and Dallow, but were demolished in the early 20th century. The 1841 census has Anthony Ashby (and family) and Charles Hayton (and family), both agricultural labourers, living in 2 properties called Piney Park, between Newmanchester and Crosshills.

The First Chapel
In 1816, a trust was formed by 15 men, 10 from Dallowgill, and a piece of land was bought for £2.10s from Anthony Ashby at Greygarth, to build a chapel, measuring approximately 9yds by 6.5yds. It was built below the SW corner of the present chapel. Bounded on west by land owned by Richard Pearson, on south by land owned by John Lofthouse, on east by road to Kirkby Malzeard, on north by field called Backgarth owned by Anthony Ashby, from where the land was taken.

This land was part of a parcel sold by John Carling to Anthony Ashby in 1813 for the remainder of the 950 year lease from Sir Marmaduke Wivell of Constable Burton in 1620.

Greygarth was the largest collection of houses in Dallowgill at the time, which is probably why it was chosen for the site of the Chapel. In the 1841 census there were 8 households.

1816 Chapel Trustees

John Ashby Husbandman Grewelthorpe
John Bilton Cordwainer and Local Preacher Galphay
Anthony Close Farmer and Local Preacher Winksley
Edward Gill Labourer Dallowgill
Henry Gill Tailor (made mark) Dallowgill(Carlesmoor?)
Charles Lofthouse Stonemason Grantley
Isaac Lofthouse Cordwainer Dallowgill
John Lofthouse Cordwainer Dallowgill (Greygarth?)
Robert Summersgill Yeoman Dallowgill (Malaby House?)
John Tebb Farmer Dallowgill (? Hawsett 1841)
Thomas Thirkell Husbandman Dallowgill (Carlesmoor?)
William Topham Farmer Dallowgill
John Ward Blacksmith Barden near Skipton in Craven
Simon Watson Husbandman (made mark) Dallowgill
John Wood Labourer Dallowgill (Lamb Close, Slate Miner?

The New Chapel
In 1885 more land was purchased from the Marquis of Ripon for the token sum of £3, and the old chapel was demolished. Mr Robert Ashby was the tenant. Land to the west was partly owned by Mr Henry Pearson. A new chapel was built of stone, in the Gothic style, 36ft by 24ft, estimated cost £263, by Brothertons of Kirkby Malzeard. The stone came from a quarry at Swetton, in the wood below Swetton Farm near the beck. The foundation stone was laid on Friday 12th June 1885 by Mrs W. Thompson of Ripon – a bottle containing the Ripon Gazette for that day and other documents were buried beneath the stone. The Chapel was opened on 19th October 1885.

Greygarth Chapel

1863 Trustees

Richard Atkinson Farmer Finger Field, Grewelthorpe
Christopher Barker Farmer Carlesmoor
Matthew Buckle Farmer Castilles
William Calvert Farmer Carlesmoor
Thomas Dunn Warehouseman Ripon
Thomas Ellis Labourer Bagwith
John Lofthouse Cordwainer Low Ray Carr
Henry Lofthouse Grocer Grewelthorpe
Isaac Lofthouse Cordwainer Glasshouses, Pateley Bridge
Richard Parker Farmer Moss Mire
William Russell Cordwainer Kirkby Malzeard
Robert Swires Farmer Sutton
Mark Tomlinson Tailor Grewelthorpe
John Turner Agriculturalist Carlesmoor

In the Ripon and Masham circuit preachers have to travel about 10 miles to Dallowgill and in the early days there were few Dallowgill preachers. Early in the 20th century a horse and trap would be hired from Mr Harbisher, a grocer and cab proprietor of 80 Allhallowgate, Ripon to take the preacher up to Dallowgill. He would dine at Dallow, stable the horses, then walk the rest of the way through the fields to the Chapel as it was considered too hard going for the horses. Mr Harry Richmond left his horse and trap at Knott. In the 1920’s Mr J. Rayner would walk from Ripon to Greygarth to preach then walk home again.

Early 20th Century
1905 A new harmonium was installed and Anthony Ashby was the organist.
From about 1906 the Sunday School, previously held in St Peter’s Church, was held in the Chapel and led by William Graham, John King and Peter L Burrill. Annual Sunday School Treats before and during the first World War were in horse drawn wagonettes like Miss Almack’s. Destinations were quite local – How Stean (1908), Brimham (1909), Redcar (1911, possibly by train), Harrogate (1913), Hackfall (1919).


  • 1913 the Chapel Choir was formed and was part of the Carol Singers led by Peter Leonard Burrill for many years.
  • 1915 the Band of Hope and Temperance Society was formed to try and help poorer families stop spending money on alcohol and improve their living conditions. Mr. W. Graham was President and Mr.W.Chandler was Secretary.


  • The Mission Band was formed of local young men who took services in the surrounding village chapels – William Howell, Bob Ashby, Joe Nelson and Leonard Graham.
  • In 1922 the Sunday School Treat was to Scarborough in a motor charabanc, which could have been open! Better forms of transport meant greater distances could be travelled.
  • 1929 Sunday School Treat was at High Swetton, with tea and sports.

The sand was from a pit in Dallow Wood, thanks to Leeds Corporation Waterworks Dept. Over 30 loads were dug out by local men including Peter Burrill, William Lobley and Carter Watson, and all the materials were led to Greygarth by Jack Barker, John King, William Burrill, Wilfrid Trenholme, Frank Sidgwick, Eric Spence and Jim Newbould.

The stone for the Schoolroom doorway was taken from Greygarth Hill and dressed by Carter Watson.

A row of inscribed stones at the base of the south wall, laid on 24th June 1930, helped to raise funds. A list of subscribers is available.

The Schoolroom
The Schoolroom was opened on 3rd September 1930 by Mr and Mrs S.Moss of Ripon (Moss’s Arcade). A building out the back housed toilets and a coke house.

Outside schoolroom
Mr and Mrs Moss, Dora Chandler, Polly and Peter Leonard Burrill, and Ivy Nelson


  • In 1937 there were no children at Sunday School one Sunday in January due to a flu epidemic.
  • 1939 – Calor Gas lighting was installed to replace the oil lamps.
  • A Wesley Guild started in the 1930’s allowing members to attend scriptural and social evenings. Another was started in the 1960’s and continued until 1986.
  • There were several organists up to the 1930’s – Emily Chandler, daughter of Anthony, played for more than 30 years and Minnie Watson of Greygarth for more than 50 years.


  • In 1940 a decorative organ replaced the harmonium.
  • During the War Sunday School Treats and sports days were held in a field at Greygarth with tea in the schoolroom. As soon as the War finished, treats were to the seaside – Scarborough, Blackpool, Whitley Bay, Bridlington, Redcar, Morecambe.

1949 – the First Wedding

  • The Chapel was first registered for marriages in 1949. Previously couples were married at Laverton Chapel from 1920 and before that at St Peter’s, Dallowgill or Ripon Cathedral.
  • The first couple to marry there were Ivy Nelson and Eric Dawson on 23rd April 1949.

First Wedding


  • In 1951 Chapel membership was 48
  • In 1953 new stoves were installed to improve the heating and the old copper, used to boil water for tea, was replaced by a Calor gas boiler.
  • 1954 – new pulpit light suspended from roof
  • 1958 – 2 Elsan toilets installed

The literature says that before 1956 funeral services were normally held at St Peter’s for convenience as Methodists were buried in the churchyard there. When St Peter’s Churchyard was closed for burials, funerals were held at the Chapel, before internment at the new cemetery by the Chapel of the Resurrection. The coffin was often carried all the way to the churchyard by friends or relatives.

In 1956 James Chandler from Bents was the first recorded baptism at the Chapel. Before that children were often baptised at home and records are patchy.

The Chapel was connected to the farm’s water supply instead of having to carry water up in buckets and churns. An electricity supply was also connected. An electric boiler was used alongside the gas boiler.


  • In 1966 Dallowgill was classed “Best Village Sunday School” and the average attendance was 22.
  • 1968 a new electric organ was purchased.
  • In 1968 The Guild presented the Chapel with a new baptismal font.
  • Lots of repairs and improvements discussed at Trustee meetings and put into practice. New doors. Seats re-varnished. Pillars removed from schoolroom.


  • 1971 the last Dallowgill Love Feast was held on the last Sunday in May. It was a celebration service for members of all Methodist Societies to meet in faith and friendship.
  • The Sunday School closed due to lack of children in Dallowgill – only 2 on register.
    Lots more repairs and replacements carried out!


  • Flushing toilets were installed and new front doors for the centenary in 1985.
  • Sunday School Trips continued even though there was no Sunday School!
  • At the Centenary in 1985, membership of Dallowgill Chapel was 24, roughly a quarter of the population of Dallowgill, which was a high proportion compared to other areas, including towns.

1985 The Chapel Centenary

  • Visitors came from far and near to celebrate 100 years.
  • Mrs Minnie Watson of Greygarth cut the cake.
  • An exhibition entitled “Dallowgill 100 years” included displays of artifacts, photos and information depicting life in Dallowgill.
  • A booklet was printed for the occasion, compiled by Miss Joanne Dawson.

A Tribute to Dallowgill Chapel, by Ronnie Robson

Printed in Ripon Gazette in June 1985

Four square to all the winds that blow,
And all the rain which falls,
Oh! Greygarth Chapel standing high.
How sweet those hallowed walls.
Westward the windows still look out
On heather covered slopes,
While to the east, a vista fair,
Of farmyard joys and hopes.
The folks of Dallowgill have come
Faithfully through the years
To see young couples wed with smiles
And loved ones mourned with tears.
To gaze at lovely Dallowgill
Although the tracks have gone,
Brings visions back of olden days
When footpaths all led on.

Up hill and down, through woods and fields,
All trod by faithful Methodists,
Who came here week by week
To hear His word and sing the hymns
To tunes we know today.
“Oh! for a thousand tongues to sing,”
“Oh! hear us Lord we pray.”
Love Feasts there were, but these are gone,
But Harvest Homes survive
With “Come you thankful people come,”
The Chapel comes alive.
So was it then, so is it now,
So may the Chapel be,
For future generations
A meeting place with Thee.

So, what does the future hold for Dallowgill Chapel?
It’s up to us……

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