Hollinsclough lies in the Staffordshire Moorlands close to the county boundary with Derbyshire.  The “beautiful vale of Hollinsclough” (Sir George Crewe’s Journal, 1830s) is part of the upper Dove valley.  The river flows between the limestone reef knolls of Chrome (pronounced “Croom”) and Parkhouse to the north-east and the ridge of Longnor Sandstone to the south-west.

 

Hollinsclough Chapel itself was built by John Lomas, who was a successful packman, selling Manchester fabrics across the country.  We know a lot about him because he kept a journal from 1783, the year of his conversion, to 1823, the year of his death.  However, while the original document has been lost, his grandson, John Birchenall, published an edited version in 1878. 

 

There are fewer than ten members, but they are very committed, giving, as one member put it, “a skeleton staff and a big supporters club!”  The village school uses the chapel for end-of-term and other services, as well as for learning about human rites of passage.

The Chapel Hall was originally a “one-up, one-down” dwelling with a shippon and loft attached. Then it became a joiner’s shop and the furnishings for the renovation of the chapel were made there in the late 1890s.  The Old Shop, as it was known, belonged to the Harpur-Crewe Estate and when it was no longer used as a work-shop, it was rented by the Chapel as a storage space for one shilling a year.  It came on the market when some of the estate was sold to pay death duties.  The trustees were not interested in it, considering that it was “a white elephant”, “no use at all” and “not worth spending money on”.  The building was bought privately by George and Gertie Mellor who then gave it to Hollinsclough Chapel.  The cost of the building was £10 and the total cost in 1964, with the legal fees, was £30. 15s 0d.

In 1992 the members, with help from their many friends, converted and extended the Old Shop into a building with modern facilities.  The hall is now used for Quiet Days and the occasional informal act of worship.   It is essential to the “ministry of hospitality” to walkers, coach parties and other tourists.  At the end of May it is thronged with visitors to the annual fund-raising event, the Flower Festival displayed in the Chapel.  In the wider community, the hall is also used by groups as a check-point or a base for sponsored walks and motor rallies.

The life of the community has been greatly enriched by the hall.  It provides a comfortable meeting place for local groups such as “History Live” and the Single Regeneration Budget Action Group.  “History Live” is a very well-supported active group that organises popular monthly talks by a range of speakers.  The Friday Club is a spin-off from “History Live” where memories are exchanged and recorded over coffee and cake. 

The Action Group, a registered charity, also meets monthly and its remit is to improve and enhance the quality of life of the community.  It produces a bi-annual “Hollinsclough Herald”, organises an annual Parish Fair and supports and encourages the provision of classes on a wide range of subjects.  It has created a wild-life pond, has organised the grass-gridding of two lengths of verge and has provided an office for the parish containing state-of-the-art computers, reprographic facilities and internet access.

So, from George and Gertie’s act of faith has sprung a whole raft of benefits to the community that they loved and served so well! 

PS.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of John Lomas’ diaries – please let Lynda know - lynda@hollinsclough.org.uk

 

Home