A chapel which has been serving worshippers high on the Yorkshire fells since the time of the Brontes is on the verge of extinction.

A regular congregation of just seven worshippers keeps the tradition alive at Scar Top, next to Ponden reservoir at Stanbury, near Keighley.

With the eldest member Daisy Tempest at 82 and the youngest, Kathleen Snowden aged 59, they fear if more people don't attend, it could fold.

They are joined on Sundays in the 200-seat building by organist Geoffrey Nixon, 74, of Oakworth, Teresa Baines, 66, of Stanbury and Kathleen Snowden, 59, of Scar Top and another occasional worshipper.

Every two weeks, Dorothy Pickersgill arrives with her elderly mother Margaret Pickles from Hawksworth.

Like Mrs Tempest, Mrs Pickles has been a member of the 188-year-old church all her life.

Now they all fear that if it closes, it could be converted into a house, as many others have in the Worth valley.

Mrs Baines said: "Recently, one chap came in after seeing a crack in the window and thought it wasn't used and was up for sale.

"They think it's unused. But of course it is used and we look after it well.

"This place is exactly as it was when it was refurbished in 1869. So many others have been ripped apart inside, but we're determined to keep it as it is."

The chapel has its original pitch pine benches on the ground floor and boxed pews in the gallery, which were originally rented by folk from higher social strata.

The decorated organ, which still plays, came secondhand in 1902.

It was played by Mr Nixon on the centenary of the building's extension in 1969.

"None of us will stop coming unless we are unable," said Mrs Tempest, who recently gave up driving and relies on lifts.

"I took the bus once which meant walking from Stanbury.

"I made some sandwiches because I had such a long time to wait for the service to start,"

She stressed the chapel was financially sound and that the regular attenders acted as trustees.

Mrs Tempest was on the cradle roll at the chapel Sunday School aged just two and helped run it as a 17-year-old when she lived at nearby Burn Side Farm.

As an independent chapel - it severed links with the Methodist circuit 30 years ago - the congregation has to find a preacher.

Mrs Baines, who has the job of contacting them, said: "We always seem to be able to get one. They come from all over - as far as Burnley and Oldham. When occasionally people call in, we always ask if they preach and if they do they are welcomed."

The non-denominational chapel, which was built as an independent place of worship in 1818 and had a brief connection with Methodism, also has a licence to hold weddings.

It is understood to have been built by Robert Heaton, of Ponden Hall, who was a friend of the Bronte sisters.

They would travel over from Haworth to use his extensive library.

It was enlarged in 1869, when it is believed an extra storey was added along with the vestry, choir and gallery.

e-mail: clive.white@bradford.newsquest.co.uk