This unique building known as Jenkins chapel is so isolated that it comes as no suprise that there is only one service performed here each month! It can be found (eventually) on the western flank of the Peak District National Park at an isolated junction where country lanes meet and where the old Roman road known as the Street drops down from Pym’s Chair. The chapel is located at a place called Saltersford in the parish of Rainow, the chapel was built in 1733 and must have initially looked just like a normal house as the tower was not added until 1755. The reason that the chapel was built at this spot was due to the fact that there was an important saltway that ran past this point and this was used by packmen who drove their horses mules and carts along the ancient saltways transporting salt from the Cheshire salt pans to Yorkshire. The name Saltersford is derived from this ancient activity as it would have been the place where the Salters forded a brook or a stream. Jenkins would have been one of these Salters or perhaps Drovers, however he was probably more religious than many others who shared this lifestyle as he would preach and attract many locals to this spot to hear his sermons. After a while a preaching cross was built at the spot where Jenkin’s Chapel now stands and it became a gathering point for religious ceremonies which became known as Jenkin’s Cross. Another possible candidate for where the name Jenkin’s Chapel came from is that of a fiery Welsh preacher who used to visit the annual horse fair that was held here and was said to have preached at this spot.
The chapel was financed by John Slack of Saltersford Hall as well as people from the local community, the chapel was initially dedicated to St John the Baptist but was re-dedicated to St John the Evangelist in 1894.
Another interesting feature of this chapel is that it has a chimmney which does make it resemble a normal house, the church is built from local gritstone and has a saddleback roof and has exterior steps leading up to the upper gallery. The chapel is worth making the effort to visit as it is in a beautiful location and is very unique, however do make sure you bring a map!