The chapel was built in 1787. John Wesley had passed through Eyam on his way to

preach at Grindleford in 1768, but so far as is known he did not preach at Eyam. The

chapel seats 250. It was always known as the Bottom Chapel to distinguish it from

the Top Chapel, which belonged to the Methodist Church.

The chapel was well attended in the 1950s, with regular services on Sunday afternoon and evening, and a morning Sunday School. It was on the Bakewell Circuit, and has been serviced by local preachers, including students from Cliff College.

Special occasions included the Anniversary on the second Sunday in June, with members attending from other local chapels, including Foolow. The Harvest Festival was held at the end of October, followed by a Harvest Supper in the chapel. There was Carol Singing in December, when a Christmas tea was also held. At all of these occasions the chapel was very well filled.

Amongst well known people who attended the chapel were Harold Wilson, who owned the haberdashery store just above Hawkhill Road, Frank Higginbottom and Harry Daniel, Clarry's father, renowned for their bass voices, and Marie Lowe, who with her family attended the chapel for the past 50 years.

Notes on the Wesleyan Reform Chapel

based on conversations with Marie Lowe

A new stirring of the Holy Spirit came upon the people of this country in the mid. 18th century. The Peak District of Derbyshire, in spite of its isolation, was also caught up in this new tide of religious revival. Methodist missionaries preached with zeal and absolute commitment to the word of God, and encouraged people to accept Jesus Christ into their lives as their personal saviour. The message was strong, and often met with violent opposition, not least from the Established Church, but the movement grew, and John Wesley, through his preaching, has a great influence on direction and thinking. He recorded in his journal in 1768 "I preached in the morning at a little village near Eyam in the High Peak - the poor people devoured the Word......." Such was the following in Eyam that, in 1787 deeds were drawn up for a Wesleyan Chapel (the present Wesleyan Reform building, which has now been converted into a house). A century of so later the national denomination became divided on policy and management, and Eyam chapel decided not to remain with the Wesleyan movement, and so changed hands and name and later became part of the Wesleyan Reform Church.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Principal of the newly formed Cliff College observed that Methodism was not represented in Eyam, and immediately put into action, with the help of local people and Cliff Students, the forming of a Society and the raising of funds for a new building. Such was the enthusiasm that a chapel was built and opened in October 1906, and remains there today on Hawkhill Road. Many people have been brought to Christ since then, families have worshipped there and children have been taught the truths of the Christian faith. Prayer and biblical preaching combined with praise in song are the essence of its life and remains so today. Changes in social habits and movement away and dying out of Methodist and Wesleyan Reform families has reduced the numbers of the nonconformist worshippers: the Methodists found the premises too large for worship and now share the building with Eyam Museum to mutual advantage and for the benefit of the village. The witness remains and the Good News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed each week.

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