THE people of the tiny hamlet of Cripplestyle will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the building of the old chapel - the Ebenezer Chapel - with their traditional service on Kingbarrow Hill.

The service was first held on the hill to thank God for providing the materials to build the church. In the early part of the 19th Century a group of preachers started to visit the villagers of Cripplestyle, whose nearest church was then at Cranborne and only visited for baptisms, marriages and funerals.

As a result of their preaching the cottagers turned to Christ for salvation and began to meet in private houses for prayer.

Eventually a place of worship was erected by the people of Cripplestyle - the men dug and worked the clay while the women gathered heath from the common to bind it together.

On December 11, 1807, the new Ebenezer Chapel was opened for public worship.

Sadly, the chapel collapsed in 1976 and is now marked by a memorial. The year after the chapel's original opening the villagers held a service on Kingbarrow Hill and was held every year until 2004.

This year the service will again take place - on Whit Sunday, May 27, there will be a short ceremony at the memorial site followed by a procession up Kingbarrow Hill for the thanksgiving service at 3.30pm on the top.

Afterwards, at 4.30pm, there will be an American tea at the Williams Memorial Chapel and an exhibition of photographs, family trees, documents, minute book, films and artefacts.