Newbiggin, in Teesdale, is one of two chapels in County Durham claiming to be the oldest Methodist chapel in continuous use. Opened in 1759, when the membership of the Teesdale society was 57, it could seat 214 in 1873. to 365. The chapel is a listed building
Wesley often visited the chapel, and in his time it was the centre of a network of classes. Membership at the time of John Wesley’s death in 1791 was 30.
These photographs of the chapel were taken in June 2018, when chapel had just been sold. Wesley’s success was based, at least in part, on going to where the people were, rather than expecting them to travel to church. Many of the busy mining areas John Wesley and his preachers visited are now peaceful rural areas dotted with closed Methodist chapels, with the miners having long moved on. The Methodist work in Upper Teesdale is now concentrated in Middleton in Teesdale, a few miles downstream from Newbiggin. The former Primitive Methodist chapel at Bowlees, a mile or so up the dale was converted into a visitor centre a few years ago. Newbiggin will probably be converted into holiday accommodation.
Grid reference NY 916277
Steele, Anthony The History of Methodism in Barnard Castle London: George Vickers, 1857 pp 60 and 189
Returns of Accommodation 1873