Gallopong Green PM Chapel, Eighton Banks, County Durham
There are relatively few references in the archives to the Galloping Green PM Society. Whilst closer to Gateshead, the chapel was in the South Shields PM Circuit and it is from that Circuit’s Quarterly Meeting Minutes that most information is gleaned.
Early meetings of the Society were held in the home of Thomas Grainger whose home was registered as a meeting-house on 8 September 1825. This was amended on 10 February 1834 as a chapel and was in possession “James Clish and others as Trustees for Primitive Methodist purposes”. By this time the house had been re-built as a chapel on a site that would later be occupied by the Barrington Schools and is now an animal sanctuary. Total cost of the building was £156 and the debt of this, at the time of opening, amounted to £128 19s 7d – it took many, many years before the debt was cleared.
In 1833, when the chapel was opened there were just 500 people residing in the village but by 1859 this had grown to about 800. The expansion of the nearby Springwell Colliery and the quarries accounted for much of the increase.
Chapel life was hectic with meetings of one kind or another taking place every day and evening. The building could seat 200 and average Sunday attendance was around 70. There were 28 members of the Society in 1833. By 1856, attendance had dropped significantly and the Trustees including Bro. Bird & Bro. Jennings (no relation!) requested that the Quarterly Meeting dropped sending preachers. The Meeting however felt that the work in the village should continue although they were short of finance and preachers. They arranged with the North Shields PM Circuit to send preachers on a regular basis to Galloping Green – a significant journey by ferry, train and a long walk!
In 1868, the Society moved into the Gateshead Circuit who almost instantly considered closing them down as being “unworthy of repair being in an out of the way situation” and made efforts to raise money for a new chapel in a better location but by December 1871, when no suitable land had been found or sufficient monies raised, the Meeting agreed to repair Galloping Green Chapel.
By 1881, the chapel was again flourishing with two services on a Sunday (2pm and 5.30pm) and a Wednesday evening service at 7pm. A new Trust was formed consisting of James Robson, Joseph Hunter, Richard Bulman, Jacob Jennings, William Carr, George Edward Almond (a relative of Mary Porteous), John E Gowland, Richard Errington, Matthew Robson, Thomas Dixon and William Winter. The Sunday School was doing well too with 150 attending every Sunday morning and a Band of Hope mid-week meeting that attracted 70 members. Sadly, the chapel was gutted by fire on Sunday 29 March 1891 but a brand new start was on the horizon for the chapel and its members - see Jubilee Avenue PM Chapel, Eighton Banks