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The Chapel at Woodhead

These photographs were taken by Carl Rogerson of Hyde in Cheshire and I am grateful for his generous permission to use these pictures. Carl's website can be found here

See also this page from the Glossop Chronicle of Monday 8 May 2017 by Adam Higgins

extracts from booklet published by Longdendale Heritage Trust.

Standing almost eight hundred feet up at the head of the Longdendale Valley, with fewer than forty people living within a four mile radius this must be one of the most desolate chapels in the country. It may already be well over 500 years old, since 1487 is usually given as its foundation date. Sir Edmund Shaa, Lord Mayor of London, left money in that year to pay for a priest "in a chapel that I have made in Longdendale" who would sing his Mass and say divine service for ever more.

Photo © Alf Beard (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Accessed 16 August 2017

Local rumour suggests that the fifteenth century building - probably wooden - was at Robin-i-Meers, about three quarters of a mile further up the valley by the River Etherow; the dedication seems to have changed from the Blessed Virgin to St. James some time later, which might imply a new building. There are no graves before mid-eighteenth century in the present graveyard.
Some of the railway navvies who died during the construction of the Woodhead tunnel are buried in St James' churchyard but the field behind the church has been left bare. For more than 100 years there have been rumours that some of the tunnel workers and their families – who were Roman Catholic and were not allowed to be buried in an Anglican churchyard – were buried behind St James in the ‘unconsecreted ground.’ Other rumours suggest the field was used to bury victims of cholera, which swept through the Saltersbrook site.

This booklet, History of Woodhead Chapel (in PDF format) was sent to me by Sue Ledbrooke, who wanted it to have a good home. It had that here with me and on my website. My thanks to her for her kindness. The latest date in the booklet is 1905 so it was published after that date.

In January 2019, I passed on the booklet so that it could take its place in an historical display case at the Glossop Conservative Club function room, renovated to its original glory, containing several pieces of  local memorabilia, War records, Flags and Brass articles from local historical societies. In  fact  the building it self has been recognised for its historical importance and has blue plaque recently applied for, outside.  The booklet will certainly be at home there, and — hopefullly — will be on display for many years.

Should you have any further information about the booklet, I'd be delighted to hear from you.


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Last modified 25 January, 2019

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