St Leonard’s Chapel, Chapel-le-Dale MYD35161 (c) YDNPA, 2023
A chapel of ease is recorded in Chapel le Dale from the late 16th century when it was known as the ‘chaple of Wiersdale’. By the 18th century it was known as the chapel of Ingleton Fells or Fell Chapel. The dedication to St Leonard didn’t come about until the 1940s when a supposed ancient dedication was found in a 16th century document. It later turned out to have been referring to the parish church in Ingleton. The present building mostly dates to the late 17th century although some parts may be older. There are 18th century alterations and it was restored in 1869. It is built from squared limestone rubble coated with ‘slobbered’ (thickly applied) lime mortar. It has stone dressings and a stone slate roof. Inside there is a mid-17th century wooden altar rail. A white marble memorial on the west wall of the nave reads: “To the memory of those who through accidents lost their lives, in constructing the railway works, between Settle, and Dent Head. This tablet was erected at the joint expense, of their fellow workmen and the Midland Railway Company 1869 to 1876”. The burial register contains the names of over two hundred people from the railway construction camps, many of them women and children. The churchyard apparently had to be extended when smallpox broke out in the camps.
Mitchell, W R (1988) Shanty Life on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Settle: Castleberg
Tyler, Gerald (2003) The Chapel of the Fells. The History of St Leonard’s Church, Chapel le Dale. Chapel le Dale: The Friends of St Leonard’s Church