High House, between St. John’s Chapel and Ireshopeburn in Weardale is one of two chapels in County Durham claiming to be the oldest methodist chapel in continuous use. Opened in 1760, when the membership of the Weardale society was 34, it could seat 520 at its height. The 1940 returns reduce that figure to 365. The chapel, and the manse next door are a listed building
These photographs of the interior were taken in June 2018, when the future of the chapel was in doubt. Wesley’s success was based, at least in part, on going to where the people were, rather than expecting them to travel to church. A fine display in the Museum of Weardale, in the former manse, explains that the people started leaving Weardale in the nineteenth century, a process that has accelerated with time.
Grid reference NY 873385
Steele, Anthony The History of Methodism in Barnard Castle London: George Vickers, 1857 p60
Returns of Accommodation 1873
Statistical Returns 1940