Ecton View (156kB)


Ecton Chapel (291kB gif)

This postcard is reproduced from Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway by Lindsey Porter (Landmark Publications)

"An old postcard of Ecton. The man stands between a little chapel built after the mine closed (and where Sir Thomas Wardle played the organ), and the mine's clockhouse smelter - it had a clock on the far side. The chapel had been the railway constructor's site office."
Note: used by kind permisson of Landmark Publications.

ECTON was important in the Methodist history of Wetton and Hulme End. Many people were employed in the mines, and later in the creamery which occupied buildings to the left of the above view.

During the 19th century, it was an important industrial site. Both the Wesleyan and the Primitive Methodists had regular meetings there. I do not know whether the Chapel was Wesleyan or Primitive. (Leek P.M. Minutes 1862.) Ecton is not on the Leek W.M. Plan of 1844, but does appear on a Plan of 1862, but is absent from Plans of the Wetton and Longnor Circuit, even as early as 1885 (which lists the same 10 Chapels as in the 1960's). This suggests that the Chapel in the picture was P.M.

Dyson records in 1853

"ECTON, situated on the hill which contains the celebrated mine of that name, has preaching once a day on the Sabbath. "

Since the Chapel above was formerly the railway constructor's site office, and the railway was opened in 1904, this weekly preaching was probably in a house. Both the Wesleyans and the Primitive Methodists preached at Ecton, and the workers at Ecton were a valuable part of the Methodist Societies at Butterton, Hulme End, Warslow and Wetton. There are few dwellings at Ecton now, and it does not appear from the old photographs that there may have been many more in the 19th century.

W. H. Simcock, in Primitive Methodism in the Leek Moorlands includes the following about the work at Ecton : -

The sometimes dramatic nature of conversion and the salvation of sinners has been illustrated in the histories of our moorland chapels. The Primitive approach appeared to answer a special need of the workers at Ecton near Hulme End. The scene there typifies the ecstatic nature of 19th century Primitive Methodist conversion. Such scenes were distasteful to Wesleyans as to Anglicans.

"At Ecton many sinners have been pricked in their hearts, and with streaming eyes have groaned the sinner's only plea, `God be merciful to me.' While their bosoms heaved, their breasts swelled, and their hearts throbbed with grief, we pointed them to the bleeding cross, and urged them to believe in the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then through faith they received pardon and could rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven, we rapturously sang,

My God is reconciled,
His pardoning voice I hear.

Angels, we believe, rejoiced too, and delightfully viewed the growing empire of their King.

John Porter"

(Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1857)


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June 2002