Forge Sheffield: Loxley Chapel
Nestled amongst the hills of Loxley lies a withered old chapel; a relic of what once was.
The chapel sits in an overgrown field behind a long row of houses, caged in by broken gravestones and never ending brambles. The graves surrounding the chapel date to over a couple of centuries ago. Some are withered but intact, however sadly many have succumbed to the harsh weather and little upkeep of the graveyard.
The chapel was built in 1787 and closed over 20 years ago in 1993, where it now withers away as a grade II listed building. It houses victims from the Great Sheffield Flood in 1864, where more than 600 million gallons of water broke through the dam and killed many Sheffield residents in their beds, and many more later as the resulting water grew stagnant and putrid.
The area surrounding the chapel is of course very idyllic and quiet, however that doesn’t compare to the eerie silence inside the chapel. Barely any footsteps grace the floors of the building and the instant cold inside hits you, a feeling as though a presence of what once was, is no longer there. The majority of the structure is intact, with two main staircases leading to the upper balcony where the multiple pews line the second level.
From up there you can see the magnificent organ and where the player would sit, some keys in tact with a few folders of hymns in the back. The ceiling looks like someone who is reeling from a little too much sun, with drapes of mouldy wallpaper peeling and dangling down. The hardy wooden pews and pulpit are a stark contrast to the rest of the contents of the chapel, with dusty old bibles and shelves strewn all over and not too many windows in tact, if not boarded up.
The second level also gives a great view of the eerie pew with old hymns, notes and even scarier yet, a tatty old teddy bear – a little too horror film for my liking.
A hardy Yorkshire structure too stubborn to crumble away, the treacherous brambles and broken gravestones keeps the cold feeling and thick silence within the chapel, yet also dooms it to sit and rot. A shame for building which played a great part in preserving a slice of Sheffield history.
Words and Images by Tom Plant