Harrop Fold

I recently walked about Harrop Fold, a queer little hamlet in the hills overlooking the Ribble Valley. A few pretty little farm houses gather around a small green, miles from a major arterial road. The air was fresh, the fields were green and the sky a bright blue. And for late November it was predictably cold. Close by was an old manor house, from the seventeenth-century judging by its mullions and old stonework. An old datestone lay nonchalantly by the lane, sadly broken, its crucial date missing. What a great place to live, I thought. What a great place to holiday, thinks everyone else. If you search the place online, dozens of websites promising holiday cottages appear. For three straight years did it win the county's Best Kept Hamlet Award. A local man tells me it was asked to leave the competition therefater, that other settlements might have a chance to win. 

The most beautiful aspect of the place, however, was neither the views nor the charm, but the chapel. Harrop, for all its remoteness and absence of civilisation, hosts a small evangelical church populated by a number of local, and not-so-local, characters. I preached there that afternoon, and shared tea with them after. Sadly, there is many a pretty village in these parts which, for all their quaintness and rustic appeal, have no real Christian witness. Over the pretty wisterias, the warm taverns, the ivy-covered churches, an atmosphere of spiritual death reigns. The burghers of Harrop and its farms may not know how fortunate they are to have a real church in their midst.

Harrop Christian Fellowship