St John’s has a comparatively long history. The date stone is visible above the road side entrance Very few of our early documents and images have survived however. This archive offers a selection of the material from 1890 onwards. Dates may not be 100% accurate, and early images are grainy, but still tell a story.
1890 to 1920. Major alterations to the building took place in 1912. The engraving shows the then new porch and railings and how the interior was to become.
We believe that at this time the medallion celebrating the marriage in 1893 of Prince George, Duke of York (later George V) and Princess Mary of Teck. was placed under the church pathway. It was found during the 2000 remodelling.
The role of honour which hangs in our chapel commemorates our dead from the First World war.
1920-50 During the interwar years, the village May Queen tradition was established, to support the work of local hospitals. We regularly participated. An early float of ours is shown.
Our tennis courts, shown in 1929, immediately behind the chapel, were later sold for housing
A concert party, known as “The versatile” was formed in this period and gave fund raising concerts around the area, until well after WW2. It’s activity was at it’s height at it’s100th performance in 1935.
1950 – 80. The recovery from the effects of WW2 led to consolidation. By 1980 the four other village Methodist chapels had closed and combined with St Johns. Meanwhile the life of the church went on. The image left (undated) shows one of the hazards of chapel life namely the flooding of the basement, soaking the coal boiler which had to be dried out before the Sunday service could begin.
Concert parties continued. The one below “Golden Hair and the Three bears” was produced in 1950. Below is the last concert in 1980.
1980 – 2010. The village changed during this time. By the end, over 50% of the population worked in nearby cities and towns. The “incomers” bought energy and wealth, both of which had a revitalising effect on the Chapel. Following Bicentennial celebrations in 1982, a junior youth club was formed, for the 7 – 13 age group. The images show a trip to the Cheshire salt mines in 1984, and two of the leaders raising funds at the 1983 May queen event.
Also at this time the Hayfield churches began to work together on some projects. The image show them staffing a Fair Trade stall at the Hayfield sheepdog Trials in 2006. Jointly we took part in the May queen parades too, our contribution to the 1992 event on the theme “Jesus, the light of the world” is also shown .
By far the most significant changes during this period were to the building. How it is now is shown on the look inside page. The two images give a flavour or what it was like before.
The main change was to remove the central box pews and high pulpit, enabling more activities to take place and giving the chapel a more modern practical feel.