Chapel of the Month – October 2015

Sutton on the Hill Primative Methodist Chapel

Sutton on the Hill is a small scattered hamlet 8 miles to the west of Derby.  Mentioned in the doomsday book as Sudtun, the centre of the current hamlet sits on a rise above Sutton Brook. The C14 St Michael’s Church (rebuilt in 1863) is not within the village but is located on top of “the hill” about half a mile to the north east, giving commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Sutton on the Hill Primitive Methodist Chapel

Sutton on the Hill Primitive Methodist Chapel

Sutton has a place in the historic development of Primitive Methodism. In 1811, aged 17, Sarah Kirkland of Mercaston, Derbyshire was so impressed by Hugh Bourne that she decided to devote her life to God and within two years she was accepted into the movement as its first female travelling preacher. Her first preaching engagement was at Sutton, where she converted a gypsy who then travelled with her and announced Sarah’s arrival in every town and village that she visited. Sarah became very popular and in 1816 preached to a crowd of 12,000 near Nottingham.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel is located about half mile north of the Anglican church in an isolated location in the corner of a field at the crossroad of Lane Ends. Interestingly, this is locally known as “ranter’s corner” after a name given to the Primitive Methodists when they were first founded in the early C19 due to their enthusiastic style of preaching.

The chapel itself is a small single storey brick building with Flemish bond and a Staffordshire blue tiled roof with decorative terracotta finials and the decorative date stone states “Primitive Methodist Chapel 1838”. The large symmetrically-placed metal windows give balance and grandeur to the building. Towards the end of the 19th century the porch and lean to the east were added.

This charming but unlisted chapel recently closed and has now been sold.

This month’s contribution was kindly prepared by Neil Robertson, Conservation Officer in South Derbyshire.

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