Torn bibles, broken organs and smashed stained windows – this is the sorry state of the inside of an abandoned Sheffield chapel.
Grade II listed Loxley Chapel was officially closed in 1993 after opening its doors in 1787.
The church, which has been known as Loxley Methodist Church and Loxley United Reformed Church, has been left in a shocking state of disrepair.
The surrounding cemetery is also overgrown with graves being lost in the foliage.
Inside, the keys of the enormous organ are smashed to pieces and a stack of bibles and hymnbooks are strewn across a storeroom. Outside, plants swamp the gravestones.
Upon the building’s completion in the 18th century, consecration of the chapel was refused because builders would not install an east-facing window.
Given the cold shoulder by its original owners, the chapel was eventually sold at auction for £315 and became an independent chapel.
However it soon recovered because, according to the Religious Census of 1851, the average congregation at an afternoon service was 200 worshippers.
Many victims of the Great Sheffield Flood in 1864 – which claimed 240 lives – are buried in the cemetery.
Among the bodies that are buried here are the Armitage family, who lost 12 members including five children. The whereabouts of their grave is unknown.
Henry Tingle Wilde, Chief Officer of RMS Titanic was baptised at the chapel. Wilde is reported to have killed himself as the ship sank in 1912, however his body was never recovered.
Shropshire resident Iain Kelly who has relatives buried in the chapel’s graveyard said he was ‘shocked’ at its state after visiting there in 2010.
Mr Kelly said: ‘After a long search I was unable to identify the family graves and came away quite distressed at the total and utter neglect.
He added: “My horror was increased on the discovery that the burial ground is still accepting new customers, as it were.
“I can’t help but feel that this is a shocking state of affairs being a microcosm of much which is wrong with our society. Here lay our dead.
“Sheffield people laid to rest in originally quite beautiful surroundings but now ignored and forgotten. How did this come about?”
The chapel is privately owned.
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