It's not unusual in the Derbyshire Peak District to find villages with two Methodist chapels. It is unusual for these chapels to be just about opposite each other.
Methodism, a breakway from the established church, was itself prone to fissure. Wesleyan Methodism was always the majority strand, but from 1810 Primitive Methodism emerged as a more 'back to basics' style of Methodism. It was a lot of adherents, particularly in poorer congregations and in area such as the lead mining district of Derbyshire. The split within British Methodism was made good in 1932 when Wesleyans and Primitives came back together.
Here in Birchover, two imposing chapels - the Wesleyan Methodists being slightly older and (only) slightly grander - are on opposite sides of Main Street. What a tale must lie behind that rivalry. Neither is in use for worship today - though some of the Methodist chapels in nearby villages have managed to keep going.
There was a third place of worship in Victorian Birchover - though tucked away out of view. A small Church of England church, alongside a vicarage which is quite immense. You have to scour around to find them (in the track that leads from the Druids' Inn). And this church is still going - with a couple of Sunday services each month.
Why is it always the establishment that wins out?
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!