Cloud PM Chapel, Cheshire

built in 1815; the oldest PM chapel still in continuous use

The chapel before the schoolroom was added
August 2011
David Noble
August 2011
David Noble
August 2011
David Noble
August 2011
David Noble
August 2011
David Noble
August 2011
David Noble
Memorial tablets inside the church
Janet Bailey

Cloud Methodist Church is the oldest (former) Primitive Methodist Chapel still in use, in the world.

Hugh Bourne first preached here in 1811, when it appeared on the earliest preaching plan. At this time preaching would have been in the open air, or more likely in a local cottage.

It is said that the money to build the chapel was collected in 3 days and it was built in 3 weeks!

You can find out more from the church website.


Inside the church are three tablets as follows:

In affectionate memory of John James Beardmore, of ‘The Patch’ Biddulph Park. Who died November 30th 1946 aged 63 years. For man years Sunday School Superintendent, Society Steward and Treasurer of the Cloud Methodist Chapel, and esteemed official of the Kinsey Street Congleton Circuit. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him. ‘The memory of the just is blessed’. Erected by his many friends and admirers.

In loving memory of Pte Francis Leonard Meakin, Durham Light Infantry, killed in action, France, Aug 31, 1917, aged 25 years.

Pte Harold Bailey, 8th N Staffs Regiment, killed in action, France, Nov 18-19, 1916, aged 20 years.

Pte George Thomas Byrom, Staffs Yeomanry, died in Egypt Oct 22, 1918, aged 23 years.

Pte Leonard Boon, Staffs Yeomanry, died in Egypt Oct 21, 1918, aged 21 years.

Pte James Allen, 22nd Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in France June 5, 1917, aged 34 years. 

‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’

Rev Thomas W Bailey, CF RACD, City of London Yeomanry killed in Italy March 28th 1944 aged 37, buried Sangro Military Cemetery.

In affectionate memory of Hannah Elnor Beardmore who died Feb 24th 1961, aged 75 years. She devoted her life to the service of this chapel and was organist for 62 years. A woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praise. Erected by members & friends.


Comments about this page

  • Hugh Bourne also encouraged and was encouraged by my 3√ógreat grandmother, Fanny Sherwin. She taught (adult) Sunday School at Brown Edge not too far away. Hugh Bourne saw her ‘lead several souls to freedom’. Fanny went on to marry my 3√ógreat grandfather, Samuel Barber from Burslem – he was known as Black Sam Barber and was the first black preacher in the Primitive Methodist Revival and a friend of William Clowes. He is on the plan speaking at the first anniversary service at Cloud Chapel in May 2016. An age of enlightenment in our area!

    By Cedric Barber (18/07/2020)
  • I has been brought to our attention that although Cloud Chapel has a Cheshire postal address, it is actually located a few hundred yards over the border in Staffordshire.

    The page was transferred from Cheshire to Staffordshire on 20 February 2017.

    By Geoff Dickinson (20/01/2017)
  • Really interesting. A good example too of how Hugh Bourne encouraged and empowered women.

    By Jill Barber (02/01/2014)
  • Cloud is a good example of how societies were formed and grown, often starting with single families. Hugh Bourne records in his journal how he missioned Rushton 24 September 1809, and the P.M. Magazine reports confirm that in 1810 the Ashmore House farm, then the home of Joseph and Rebecca Deakin, formerly a preaching place for the ‘Old’ Methodists of Leek Circuit, became a preaching place for Bourne and his preachers, including James Bourne and James Crawfoot.. On 25 April 1811 Hugh and James Bourne preached at Ashmore House and four were ‘set at liberty.’ The Deakin family were to form at least half of the members of the Cloud society. Bourne’s journal reports on giving out tickets to the twelve in society 14 March 1820. Rebecca herself (P.M. magazine 1822 obituary), her two daughters Mary (P.M. magazine 1819 obituary), Elizabeth a ‘protege of Bourne’ preaching at Cloud Camp meeting May 1814 (P.M. magazine 1819), and two of her sons and daughters in law, Charles and his wife Mary who continued to develop Primitive Methodism at Swettenham (P.M. Magazine 1833), and George and his wife Jane who initially invited the Primitive preachers to the farm. Bourne noted that Mary and Elizabeth Deakin took upon themselves the care of the members, before the building of the chapel.

    By Rev . David Leese (01/01/2014)

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