WORSHIPPERS at the world’s oldest methodist church in continuous use are to have their last service in the historic Weardale building.

Following the final service at High House Chapel, Ireshopeburn, on September 29, the congregation will be moving to the nearby Institute.

They will continue to worship at 10.45am on two Sundays a month while joining other congregations on other Sundays.

The building, which dates from 1760, is the oldest purpose built continuously used Methodist chapel, dating to the beginning of the movement.

In recent years, the chapel has needed a lot of work to maintain it.

A structural survey in 2017 found significant problems including dry rot, wet rot and damp.

The local Methodist Fellowship decided the task of repairing and renovating of the Grade II listed building was too much to take on.

The Weardale Museum has plans to take over the building and use it as an exhibition space for art and tapestries and open it by late 2020.

“A spokesperson said: "We are planning café style, an informal, interactive service, with refreshments, alongside traditional worship.

"We are inviting not only the local community to come along but also visitors who come to see High House Chapel which, hopefully, will have a new life as part of the Weardale Museum.”