Chapels of Staithes

In the attractive Yorkshire seaside village of Staithes, one may see the unusual sight of two Primitive Methodist chapels side by side. The older and plainer, dated 1838, resembles a cottage compared to its more splendid neighbour, dated 1880. The congregation evidently outgrew its more modest premises, and, with a correspondingly larger bank balance, erected a more comely temple to Arminian evangelicalism.

Sadly, both are now closed: the former is indeed now a cottage, and the latter the town’s museum. Not far away, the Bethel Congregational Chapel stood, which is also closed. What a pity: a ‘chapel village’ is now a godless village. People go to admire the views, but there are few there who can speak of heaven or Christ’s gospel of peace. Was it because the Christians there loved grand buildings rather than simple faith? Or did Staithes fall victim to the bleak, materialistic culture just like many other places?

For any who think my calling so quaint a place a 'godless village' too harsh, be advised that I borrowed the term from a local binman when asking directions to a chapel.

Where once deep wells watered many, dry wilderness now prevails; let us pray the old wells be opened again, for the land is dry, very dry. 

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. Genesis 26:18