Westgate Primitive Methodist Chapel

In the 18th and 19th centuries Westgate was the main centre of Primitive Methodist activity in Weardale; the original chapel was built in 1824, the year after an open air ‘camp meeting’, which was held in a local field and attracted 200 people.  The chapel was rebuilt in 1871 to accommodate 500 people, and the original building was converted into a schoolroom.  It is outstanding because it retains its complete Victorian layout, including a full set of pews and original windows.

The current Westgate Methodist Chapel dates from 1871, George Race and a Mr Atkinson being the architects. The present chapel adjoins part of an early nineteenth-century chapel, which became a schoolroom. 

The Chapel’s simple exterior belies its rich interior, As the listing description states, it “displays high quality artistic merit in the nature of its metal and plaster decorative detailing’  This Grade II* chapel is of more than special interest in a national context”.  

The gallery is supported on slim, modified Corinthian cast-iron columns. These are decorated to look like marble and with stencilling and gilded capitals and are carried up to form upper arcades at gallery level. The communion rails have patterned cast-iron uprights enclosing a dais. The dais has a panelled front with decorative cast-iron work.

The organ, built by local firm Nelson & Co., is Listed and is described by a specialist as ‘a treasure of an instrument’. 

By the time HCT acquired the Chapel in 2009 the roof had been leaking for years. HCT completed a major programme of work, including making the building watertight. The internal fabric has dried out well but, ironically, this drying process is causing the plaster ceiling to crack and areas of ceiling are currently in danger of collapse at any time.

These problems were compounded by the damage sustained to the roof during the severe storms of Boxing Day 2015 and in January 2016, as a result of which the chapel roof needed completely re-slating. 

Thanks to a generous grant from Historic England, grants from several trusts and foundations and donations from nearly 30 individuals, we raised sufficient funds for the re-roofing of a major section of the roof in Spring 2017.  This is a huge step forward and we are enormously grateful to all of our generous donors.

Our next priority is to raise funds for the ceiling to be repaired – this is vital if the organ is not to be damaged. If you would like to help us to save this wonderful building and its important organ you can find out how to make a donation.


Grid reference: NY 905 380

Westgate Methodist Chapel is located on the north side of the A689 travelling west at the Alston (west) end of Westgate.

The chapel can only be viewed from the outside at present, due to the dangerous state of the ceiling. This page will be updated as soon as it is once more  accessible to the public.

You can find out more about Westgate Chapel by downloading a free 2-page guide here.


Westgate Chapel is on the Wesley Trail.

The award-winning Weardale Museum and the adjacent High House Chapel at Irishhopeburn give fascinating insights into local history.

Nr Bishop Auckland
DL13 1LQ
United Kingdom

The chapel can only be viewed from the outside at present, due to the dangerous state of the ceiling. This page will be updated as soon as it is once more  accessible to the public.

Unfortunately, Westgate Chapel is not accessible to the public at present due to the dangerous condition of the ceiling.  If you would like to help us complete the urgent repairs that are needed please do contact us or consider making a donation.

Wesgate Chapel Facebook page