English Chapel


Another early Methodist church that grew out of the beginnings at Wilson’s Camp Ground was the English Chapel.  English Chapel, located in the Pisgah National Forest, was established in 1860 by the Rev. A.F. English.  Rev. English had been a Methodist circuit rider before the Civil War.

The land for the church was purchased for $5 from English’s father-in-law, Strawbridge Young.  Lumber for the structure was donated by English.

The church also served as a school in the mid-to-late 1800s and again as a private school in the 1980s.

In the early 1940s the old wooden building had to be replaced.  The congregation built the current church with rocks from the Davidson River as well as from neighboring states.  The words “English Chapel” are spelled out over the entrance.

An annex was added in 1956 for Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall.

English Chapel is a functioning church having services every Sunday welcoming visitors, hikers and campers.

It is often used for weddings given the unique location and intimate atmosphere.



In the 1840s, the Methodists established a Camp Ground where they held revival style services each year.  People from miles around attended these Camp Meetings for as long as two weeks at a time.  Families brought their stock and supplies and set up camp--attending services and sharing in fellowship and meals with others.  Preachers from far and near delivered sermons several times a day.

The original Camp Ground was located to the north of where Blue Ridge Community College is located today.  Although there was a spring on the property it did not provide enough water for all the people and livestock so a new location had to be found.

In 1847 Samuel Wilson offered a running lease for a Camp Ground on land that is today at the foot of the Deer Lake Community.  The running lease stated that at least one meeting had to be held during a year and if the people missed holding a meeting for five years the property went back to its owner.  According to a Henderson County deed dated June 15, 1847 Wilson deeded 11 ½ acres to Trustees, Methodists Episcopal Church South.  These Trustees included Wilson, Alexander English, William A. Paxton, Benjamin A. Trull, Charles Slagle, L.S. Gash and George Killian.  The Henderson County Plat book includes a diagram of Wilson's Camp Ground with 27 tents identified.

On February 15, 1861the North Carolina General Assembly passed an act establishing Transylvania County from Henderson and Jackson Counties.  On May 20, 1861 two significant events occurred.  First, Transylvania County court convened creating a local government.  The first day of court was held at the home and store of B.C. Lankford located where Blue Ridge Community College is today.  The second day of court, May 21, was held at Wilson's Camp Ground.

The second significant event to occur on May 20, 1861 was that North Carolina seceded from the Union.  The Civil War disrupted much of life in the early-to-mid 1860s, including the Methodist meetings at Wilson's Camp Ground.  When the state militia was called to Brevard to help control bushwhackers they set up camp at the Camp Ground.  Once things calmed down the militia pulled out.  However, shortly afterward the bushwhackers were back and set fire to the tents at the Camp Ground.  Only the main tent was saved.

After the war, it was decided that services would be held at nearby Oak Grove Church rather than the Camp Ground.  Since the lease stated that the Camp Ground property would return to its owner if not used on September 10, 1868 Wilson's 11 ½ acres were deeded to Lorenzo Gaston Siniard.  Siniard's wife, Margaret was Wilson's oldest daughter.

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