Cropton PM Chapel, Yorkshire

Photo taken June 2018 by E & R Pearce
Photo taken June 2018 by E & R Pearce
Photo taken June 2018 by E & R Pearce

Cropton is a village situated 3 miles from Middleton and 6 miles from Kirbymoorside in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Record Office, Northallerton holds the following records:

Ref. QSB 1852 3/12: Midsummer Quarter Sessions, year 1852: To include a certificate for the registration of Primitive Methodists Chapels in Cropton and Thornton.

There were 2 Wesleyan Chapels built in Cropton, North Yorkshire, also the Zion Primitive Methodist Chapel and it is the latter that is still used today, but I am not sure whether it is for worship or another purpose. 

Thornton is a popular first word for two or more place-names. However, there is a Thornton near Cropton, i.e., Thornton le Dale?

The Methodist Church Statistical Return dated 1 July 1940, published in 1941 has the following information.

Cropton (Zion) was in the Pickering (West) Circuit with other ex-primitive Chapels. It is identified as a stone structure seating 80. At Thornton le Dale (Pickering Road) there is a brick built ex-Primitive Chapel seating 241 with a school hall and four other rooms.

The 1964 Statistical Returns show in the Pickering Circuit that there was still two Methodist chapels in Cropton and two in Thornton le Dale.

By the time of the 1973 Statistical Return Cropton (Zion) is still open and seats 56. This return records the chapel opened in 1867. By that time the ex-Primitive chapel in Thornton le Dale had been closed.

In June 2018 when the photos were taken, the Chapel had been closed for about two years and was purchased by the neighbour next door. The building has been converted into a garage.

There seems to be some discrepancy between the date on the Chapel plaque (1852) and the Statistical Returns of 1973 (1867)

Comments about this page

  • Cropton Primitive Methodist Society recalled the open air
    A “mighty cause” is said to have existed at Cropton in the 19thc. In 1944, R. Burriman of Keld Head recalled the open-air love feast held by the Primitives every August Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon at Cropton. In the evening the speakers, mostly local though with an occasional visitor, began at the top of the village with their congregation, and marched down, singing rousing Methodist hymns all the way. When the service had begun a large pot of water was handed around the congregation by the Chapel steward and everyone was given a biscuit, to aid the voices. Here, the afternoon services were known as camp meetings and those in the evenings as love feasts in his recollection. The hymn singing was full of fervour and most members were prepared to stand and give testimony of what God had done for them. The last camp meetings were held just before World War 1. When George Pennock and Mr. Beilby would “shout and pray” at the tree at the bottom of the village. In the Chapel, the old hands sang the Song to Glory at the top of their voices and banging on the seats, “fortified by biscuits and tea”.
    Harwood Brierley’s oft repeated story may bear on the coming of this society to the village. He told in a guidebook of a worthy Malton local preacher who was libelled by a Cropton Anglican Church Warden who did not want nonconformist services in the village. Thomas Warden wrote that “a man will be coming to Cropton soon who calls himself the Yorkshire Evangelist. He is a great fat, overfed fellow and I want to give Cropton folk some information about him. He has an enormous appetite. He ate at Westerdale three of Mr. Cass Smith’s best show sheep in one week, and he ate a fat bullock, and all Sally Ford’s preserves. He wants thirteen eggs for breakfast every day and a big ham every third day.”
    The Evangelist came, and several returned home converted including the Church Warden – or so the story goes.
    Ref: They Kept Faith – John Rushton – Beck Isle Museum

    The tree still stands at the bottom of the village.

    By Pat Donnor (30/03/2020)

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