Who Glued Wood and Rock and Sky Together?

What took a year to build and cost £15,000? What has panga panga blocks and Columbian pine beams? Where do we find unpolished mahagony and limestone sourced locally, some from the estate? Where do we find something shaped like a carpenter’s bench, and what is it? What are panga panga blocks resistant to in their native country?

The answer is of course the chapel which was dedicated on the 8th of April 1961 by the Lord Bishop of Liverpool. For the other questions, why don’t you have a guess and email us at with your answers.

Since we have been open at the beginning of June this year a number of new guests have treasured their time in the chapel, and there has been at least one life given to Jesus over these last few months. We have also had folk who have been here in the past come in just to look at the chapel. We even had an architectural student who stopped by to admire it.

It is a Grade II listed building designed by York architect George Pace in the Modernist style, wood, and rock and sky glued together. At its dedication the Bishop of Bradford said the blessing and Revd Geoffrey Rogers, the then Warden of Lee Abbey said prayers. Dr Donald Coggan a famous friend of Scargill was that Bishop and went on to be the Archbishop of York and of Canterbury.

The spectacular sweeping roof is made of grey cedar shingles. The architect was also involved in the design of the wrought iron cross behind the altar, and the pattern for the kneelers. The clear latticed windows are designed that a worshipper might be encouraged to lift their eyes up to the hills (Psalm 121). They also let in all the light of the sky and the Dales.

In stormy weather the chapel creaks and groans like a ship in sail, and you are transported to Galilee and imagining yourself on a fishing boat with Jesus. Shaped like praying hands it has held thousands of people, young and old from every background in its embrace, in joy and in sorrow, a thin place where heaven and earth can meet.

At the moment the community prays three times a day. It is a place where in silence and solitude you can be alone in its light, but not lonely. Or you can worship with 150 others and be taken out of your own self into God’s presence. If you have a memory or a photo of the chapel do send it to In remembering the good things of the past, we can be grateful in the present and hopeful for the future.

This was posted on 28 July 2021 and updated on 1 September 2021.

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