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“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood."
 
 
 

hauxley chapel

In her History of High and Low Hauxley, villager Irene Liddle, who was brought up there, describes the construction of Low Hauxley between 1852 and 1881. She writes, ‘The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was added to the existing Reading Room circa 1900,’ adding,’ The Widdrington family were the principal landowners, funding the building of the village and chapel.’

In a subsequent book, Memories of Low Hauxley, Irene writes, ‘The building of the Methodist chapel at Low Hauxley meant the village had an outlet, not only for religious expression but for social activities as well. The Reading Room had been exclusively for men, which left the women without any social life outside the home. The Methodist movement encouraged the whole family to participate in events. Sunday morning and evening services were held as well as a Sunday school in the afternoon. The majority of the community went to chapel regularly, it was always full house with very hearty singing accompanied by the organ. The author’s grandfather Andrew Oliver played the organ for 50 years.’

One of the personal reminiscences quoted in Memories of Low Hauxley is from Peggy Foster. ‘You went Sunday morning and you came in and you got changed. (Sunday bests.) 2 o’clock you put them on again to go to Sunday school, you took them off again and put them on for chapel. Three times you changed on a Sunday. There was no, I’m not going.'

'During the week the chapel was used for prayer group meetings, and magic lantern shows, missionaries came to describe their work abroad by showing slides. Drama was also very popular, several plays were performed by chapel members and coached by Mrs Cresswell (nee Widdrington).’

‘Large social gatherings, for example the celebration of a Widdrington wedding and VE day were held in the chapel to accommodate the combined population of High and Low Hauxley. Tea was served from trestle tables, which filled the main body of the chapel.’

 ‘…I have endeavoured to show how the village developed its own unique identity through the interaction of its inhabitants. There is no doubt that Christian fellowship paid a significant part. Religion and family also imposed an in-built social control.’

(Our sincere thanks to Irene Liddle for allowing us to quote these excerpts from her books).

old photograph

Outside Hauxley Chapel. Left to Right ...
Bob Taylor, who was chapel stewart and Lord Mayor of Hauxley.
John Willie Douglas, local Methodist Preacher.
Mrs Widderington and Major Widderington.

coming of age celebrations
Hauxley Chapel 1935

As the years went by, chapel attendances fell, as they did in most places. Young people moved away from the village. The number of permanent residents declined and many of the houses became holiday homes or lets.

By the 1990s, only three people were still attending regularly and the Methodist church was questioning whether it could keep supporting Hauxley chapel.

There was a village meeting in 1993 to discuss the situation. The chapel was packed and the village voted unanimously that they wanted the chapel to stay open.

So the Rev. Terry Pottle, then Amble’s Methodist minister and the Rev. Alastair Macnaughton, then Vicar of Amble Parish Church, got together and encouraged a number of local people to help keep Hauxley chapel alive.

Although, sadly, some of those have since passed away, several are still regular members of the congregation, which now numbers around 12, including our Secretary, Pat Straker and our Treasurer Linda Conway.

We come from all over the area, including High Hauxley, Kirkwell Cottages, Amble and Hadston and still work in partnership with St Cuthbert’s and Trinity Methodist church.

Hauxley chapel

The chapel and Hauxley garden

Hauxley chapel window

Side window in the chapel

Home made cake

Home made cake

Hauxley chapel

Reading area

We meet at 4pm each Sunday and are fortunate to have preachers from either church once a month, as well as from the South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area. We also regularly take our own service.

The community clearly values our continued presence, as there are regular baptisms and weddings in Hauxley, as well as funerals.

And in recent years, we have had an annual visit from two Christian workers talking to us about what they do in the southern USA and Jordan (but no magic lantern show!)

Various groups use the chapel for mini retreats, meetings and away days, including the first Ecumenical Area staff away day. The St Cuthbert’s congregation visits us twice a year, once for tea after the service in the summer months and also for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, a very special time for us.

We also open the chapel on summer weekends and provide free tea and coffee, so that walkers and other visitors, including former villagers, can enjoy its calm and tranquil environment too.

We are a happy, friendly congregation and people of all denominations or none are welcome at our services which are followed by tea and coffee (and home made cakes if you’re lucky!) 

If you would like to get in touch with one of us, please contact:

Rev. Lynda Coulthard, Trinity Methodist Church , Amble, on 01665 713251, Rev. Diane Westmoreland, St Cuthbert’s, Amble on 01665 714560 (9am - 8pm), or Tim and Rachel Jones on 01665 712467.