High House Chapel, in Ireshopeburn was built in 1760 at a time of rapid chapel building by the Methodists.
The tiny society formed after hearing Christopher Hopper preaching in 1748, met first of all in member’s houses and at the time of Wesley’s first visit in 1752 they gathered abroad (outside) beside the thorn tree to hear him.
By 1760 the society had outgrown the small cottages of its lead mining members and they purchased a small plot of land “in order and for the sole purpose for the Christian Society commonly called Methodists to erect and build a meeting house for divine worship”.
It was probably about the 40th chapel to be built but is now the oldest to have had continuous weekly Methodist services.
Wesley referred to the Society here as “Weardale” and despite its now remote location High House had a huge membership made up largely of the growing numbers of lead miners.
The Story of Isaac Holden:Methodist Benefactor and Travelling Tea Seller
After attending a Methodist revival in 1832 Isaac turned to charitable works and made his living as a travelling tea salesman. While Isaac had no connection with High House Chapel his story shows how Methodism touched the lives of ordinary people in the North Pennines.
Elizabeth Judges, Deputy Head at Wearhead Primary School, has used Isaac Holden’s story to engage and enthuse her pupils with curriculum links for 5 to 9 year olds.
Click on Isaac’s image [right] to download a pdf and find out more about Isaac’s story.