Sited halfway up the hill, sitting squarely in the middle of the site, is the Nonconformist Chapel (Grade II* listed) – the centrepiece of Samuel Worth’s original Cemetery plan. The Chapel is described in Pevsner’s Architectural Guide as ‘Egypto-Greek’. A powerful Doric porticoed structure, it’s built of imported Derbyshire Millstone Grit. Doric refers to a plain straightforward design associated with strength and masculinity. It was built to a great depth, 20 feet or more below the finished ground level. The subterranean part of the structure was buried by a combination of imported earth to back fill and deep ‘drop vaults’. A range of stone-faced catacombs to the rear of the Chapel acted as a retaining wall to the surrounding burial ground. They provided access via a sunken driveway to the deep vaults beneath the Chapel. These were used for burials towards the end of the 19th century.
Greek and Egyptian Design
The front of the Chapel has a Greek Doric portico with substantial columns beneath. Under the portico is a large Egyptian-style doorway. Above the door is a sculpted relief panel of a dove, representing the Holy Spirit descending. Each side elevation has four simply framed Egyptian windows with octagonal iron fretwork. Although principally designed for funerals, soon after it was built Sunday services were held in the Chapel – though not in winter as the building was so cold.
World War Two
In 1940, during the Sheffield Blitz, three bombs fell in the vicinity of the Cemetery. One of them landed near, but not on, the Chapel and caused damage. Gradually over the next decades the Cemetery became overgrown and disused. The Chapel became derelict, losing its roof and becoming subject to vandalism.