Dentdale Chapel

Situated in the beautiful valley of Dentdale, Cumbria yet within the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this Grade II building was originally built as a meeting house by the Society of Friends in 1701.

About this church

Originally the Society of Friends had built a meeting house in 1701 on this site with adjoining land. After Methodism was reintroduced into the dale in 1803 by Jonathan Kershaw, the Wesleyans used to meet in an old barn, bought for £40 and used for worship. By 1834 this had become in such bad repair as to be unsafe, and they bought for £20 the meeting house and land from the Quakers. Since then this building has been in continuous use, first by the Wesleyans and then, after Union in September 1933, by both Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. After joining with Deepdale, the combined Society is now named 'Dentdale Methodist Church'.

As recently as 1961 the original Quaker burial ground adjoining was purchased and presented to the Trustees in memory of the late William Middleton, a lifelong Methodist Local Preacher.

In the intervening years the premises have been re-modelled on at least 3 occasions, in 1892, and again in the late1980's. A large schoolroom, kitchen and toilets were also added on the south side, made possible by a generous gift of land in memory of the late James Rowland Burton, 'the singing butcher', and opened in March 1968. These now form an additional facility as doctor’s surgery and waiting room.

The main chapel has in recent years been renovated, re floored and reroofed and the interior made more user friendly with chairs replacing most of the original pews.

Dentdale chapel forms part of a trail of small chapels linked to the history of the railways and religion in the Western Dales. The Carlisle to Settle railway line was built between 1870-1876, by Midland Railway Company. It was one of the most difficult railways to construct in the UK. Its 73 miles include 20 viaducts and 14 tunnels cut by hand through steep, often boggy, isolated and exposed countryside. Over 6,000 'navvies' lived and worked in appalling conditions during its construction. The Methodists in this part of Cumbria were significant providers of welfare and spiritual help to the railway workers. Education and care of children and the elderly were a feature of their work.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


St John the Evangelist

Cowgill church is a welcoming haven for walkers, cyclists and other visitors, sitting on the Dales Way in the the Yorkshire Dales National Park just a mile from the Settle Carlisle Railway and Dent Station.

St Andrew

Set in the heart of Sedbergh in a beautifully maintained churchyard the church, which dates from 1130, is a haven of peace.

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