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The Rother Valley
West Sussex, England

Northchapel
Cokelers

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Family group of Dependents at Northchapel Family group of Dependents at Northchapel
Martin Snow © 2003

click here for 2008 photos of shopping parade
 

THE COKELERS
Northchapel, West Sussex

Not so long ago a Sunday Visitor to the Sussex village of Northchapel might, on entering a little stone-built chapel set back from the A283, have heard a group of elderly people singing hymns unaccompanied by any music. Our visitor could have heard many unfamiliar hymns in several chapels scattered across West Sussex and Surrey. The worshippers were members of the Society of Dependents, founded by John Sirgood, and better known to outsiders as 'Cokelers'. They were important for over a century in West Sussex and Surrey.
The nickname 'Cokeler' is of very early date, and is popularly attributed to Sirgood's preference for cocoa rather than beer.

photo top
'family group' of Dependents at Northchapel
 
photo left
This present-day parade of shops in the Sussex village of Northchapel was formerly the Dependent Stores. They lived communally over the shop and their church that was immediately behind it can be partly seen at the right.
 
click here to find out much more
click here for 2007 photos of shopping parade
click here for Vintage Trail link and further image c.1900
 
churches | Northchapel index

The Combination Stores at Loxwood c.1904
The Combination Stores at Loxwood c.1904
By 1885 the Combination Stores at Loxwood was a flourishing enterprise with several departments
and in 1920 there was `a whole street of shops, with a large garage and a great steam bakery

Image from a postcard, dated 1904, in house collection.
 

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