High on the Edge of the moors in the Cheshire and Derbyshire borderland, an area of wild land that has for centuries been criss crossed with Pack Horse tails, can be found the little hamlet of Saltersford. Salt was the very precious cargo shipped across these moors from the Salt mines on the Cheshire Plain and at this important crossing point it is believed a Salt Trading Post was established….hence the name Saltersford. It is also here, surrounded by a stone wall to keep out the native sheep, that a small stone Chapel can be found.
The hamlet is more a collection of outlying farms but it this community who in the early 1700’s decided that they needed their own place of worship. They raised their own funds,, used local materials and own labour and in 1733 the Church was completed. They then had the task of raising enough funds to engage a Minister to oversee the Church’s affairs.
A distinctive Saddleback roofed Bell Tower adds character to an otherwise utilitarian rectangular construction.
Inside the nave is equally as sparse. Plain walls, high ceiling, solid boxwood pews and a dominant pulpit with a small simple altar beyond…
I understand that the stained glass windows were a later addition but do add a touch of extra zing to the plain style of the interior.
Why Jenkin as a name for this Chapel, after all chapels and churches have ‘saintly’ names. Well not in this case. There are many suggested stories but perhaps the most likely (in my view) is that Jenkin was a Welsh Salt Trader and established the Salt Trading Post at these crossroads…..and Post was exactly what a trading post was, just a post to mark the spot. So Jenkin Chapel became the name.
Explore the graveyard and you trace not only the family history of the hamlet but also those who actually built Jenkin Chapel…
Despite its lonely and evocative moorland location….and most probably the population of Saltersford is even smaller than it once was….the Chapel is still a place of worship, even though that is now only once a month.
(C) David Oakes 2016