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Historic Chapels Trust

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Title: Historic Chapels Trust  
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Subject: English Heritage, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, Blackpool, Friends of Friendless Churches, Coanwood, Bartestree, Biddlestone Chapel
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Historic Chapels Trust

The Historic Chapels Trust is a heritage charity that cares for redundant non-Anglican chapels and other places of worship in England. It was established in 1993, with the aim of taking into its ownership and care buildings of exceptional architectural importance and historic interest, usually those listed Grade I or II* by English Heritage. Once acquired, the buildings are repaired and restored, and then re-used for the benefit of the public and for posterity. The places of worship can be of any denomination or faith, other than from the Anglican Church, whose buildings are conserved by the Churches Conservation Trust of the Church of England. The denominations include Nonconformist chapels, Roman Catholic churches, synagogues, and buildings of other faiths.[1] The Trust arranges for the chapels to be open to the public at advertised times, and wherever possible it introduces disabled access. Its policy is that the chapels should be used for community activities, including concerts, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, and any other activity compatible with conservation of the building. The Trust also encourages the use of the buildings for services of worship.[2]

The Trust has no funds of its own. As of 2006, its funding during the first 13 years of its existence had been obtained from three sources; one-third from English Heritage, one-third from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and one-third from its own fund-raising efforts. This was in contrast with the Churches Conservation Trust, which received 70 percent of its funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the remainder from the Church of England.[2] By 2010, the Trust was receiving a 70 percent grant from English Heritage, and the rest from other sources.[1] The money raised is used for acquiring properties and for their repair and maintenance, for insurance, security costs, and office expenses. When it acquires a property, the Trust arranges a public meeting to discuss issues relating to the use of the building, and to form a committee of local volunteers to organise events and services of worship. Whenever possible and appropriate, the Trust installs modern heating and lighting, kitchens and toilets.[2]

As of summer 2012, the Trust had acquired 20 properties.[1] The range of acquisitions has been wide. Some have been semi-derelict buildings, such as the Dissenters' Chapel in Kensal Green Cemetery, and Salem Chapel in East Budleigh, Devon. Some chapels are in remote locations, such as Biddlestone Chapel in Northumberland, Farfield Friends Meeting House in West Yorkshire, and Penrose Methodist Chapel in Cornwall. Others are in rundown urban areas, such as Wallasey Memorial Unitarian Church in Merseyside, and St George's German Lutheran Church in London, which houses the Trust's offices. Some of the properties are small and simple, while others are large and elaborate, such as the Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley, Staffordshire, Todmorden Unitarian Church in West Yorkshire, Umberslade Baptist Church in the West Midlands, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Blackpool, Lancashire. During the first 13 years of its existence, the Trust won ten architectural awards, including a Europa Nostra Award for the Dissenters' Chapel.[2] As of June 2012, the Chairman of the Trust is the Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith, MP, the Director is Roland Jeffery, the Consultant Architect is Nicola Westbury, and they are assisted by eight trustees.[3]

Preserved chapels


Grade Criteria[4]
align="center" style="background-color:"|I Buildings of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important
align="center" style="background-color: "|II* Particularly important buildings of more than special interest
align="center" style="background-color: "|II Buildings of national importance and special interest
Name Location Photograph Date[A] Notes Grade
Farfield Friends Meeting House Addingham,
West Yorkshire
53°57′44″N 1°53′08″W / 53.9621°N 1.8855°W / 53.9621; -1.8855 (Farfield Friends Meeting House)

1689 This is a small, simple Quaker meeting house built immediately after the Act of Toleration, on land previously used as a burial ground. Outside the meeting house are five chest tombs of an unusual type for a Quaker burial ground.[5][6] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Walpole Old Chapel Walpole, Suffolk
52°19′24″N 1°28′54″E / 52.3232°N 1.4816°E / 52.3232; 1.4816 (Walpole Old Chapel)

1689 Built as soon as allowed by the Act of Toleration, the chapel was converted from an existing farmhouse. Initially used by a group of Independent Christians, it later became a Congregational chapel. In the 1860s, it was taken over by the Primitive Methodists.[7][8][9] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Cote Baptist Chapel Bampton, Oxfordshire
51°43′32″N 1°29′35″W / 51.7255°N 1.4930°W / 51.7255; -1.4930 (Cote Baptist Chapel)

1703–04 The chapel was built for a group of Baptists originating on the other side of the River Thames. It was enlarged in the 1750s, and in the late 1850s underwent an extensive restoration. Following another restoration in the 1990s, it is now used for weddings, concerts, and other events.[10][11] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Salem Chapel East Budleigh, Devon
50°39′28″N 3°19′00″W / 50.6577°N 3.3167°W / 50.6577; -3.3167 (Salem Chapel, East Budleigh)

1719 Initially a Presbyterian chapel, it was later used by Congregationalists, and then by the Assemblies of God. Adjacent to it is a separate assembly room. It is now used for concerts and other events, weddings, and the occasional church service.[12][13] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Coanwood Friends Meeting House Haltwhistle, Northumberland
54°55′27″N 2°27′15″W / 54.9243°N 2.4541°W / 54.9243; -2.4541 (Coanwood Friends Meeting House)

1720 This meeting house stands in an isolated position and is unchanged since it was built, other than the replacement of its thatched roof with slates. The interior retains its original layout, with rows of benches for the congregation and elders still in place. In the burial ground are typical Quaker gravestones, some of which commemorate the Wigham family, who helped to found the meeting house.[14][15] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Grittleton Strict Baptist Chapel Grittleton, Wiltshire
51°31′09″N 2°12′02″W / 51.5193°N 2.2006°W / 51.5193; -2.2006 (Grittleton Baptist Chapel)

1720c. 1720 The chapel opened in 1721. It has a rectangular plan with a tiled roof. Inside there are galleries at each end. Under the north gallery is a vestry, in front of which is a pulpit with a staircase and preacher's seat. In the body of the chapel are box pews and a child's pew.[16][17] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
St George's German Lutheran Church name=St George's German Lutheran Church


1762–63 St George's was the fifth Lutheran church to be built in London, and continued to be used by Lutherans until 1996. It now contains the offices of the Historic Chapels Trust and is also used for concerts, organ recitals, and other events.[18][19][20] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
St Benet's Chapel Netherton, Merseyside
53°29′41″N 2°58′04″W / 53.4946°N 2.9678°W / 53.4946; -2.9678 (St Benet's Chapel, Netherton)

1793 Although it was built after the Catholic Relief Acts that allowed Roman Catholics to worship openly, the chapel is concealed behind the presbytery that appears from the road to be a "standard two-bay house". It retains some of its original fittings, and as of 2010 it is being restored as it would have been before the Second Vatican Council. The presbytery is used as a residence for retired priests.[21][22][23] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Bethesda Methodist Chapel Hanley,
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
53°01′24″N 2°10′37″W / 53.0233°N 2.1769°W / 53.0233; -2.1769 (Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Hanley)

1819 Once known as the "Cathedral of the Potteries", it was built for the Methodist New Connexion. An elaborate portico was added to its frontage in 1859. During the 20th century its congregation declined and its fabric deteriorated, leading to its closure in 1985. Repairs costing £2.5 million are under way as of 2010.[24][25][26] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Biddlestone Chapel Biddlestone, Northumberland
55°22′08″N 2°04′19″W / 55.3688°N 2.0720°W / 55.3688; -2.0720 (Biddlestone Chapel)

1820c. 1820 The chapel stands in a remote location and was built as a private chapel for Biddlestone Hall by the Roman Catholic Selby family. The hall has been demolished, but the chapel has been retained. It was built on the remains of a medieval pele tower, incorporating some of its fabric.[27][28] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Dissenters' Chapel Kensal Green Cemetery, London
51°31′37″N 0°12′57″W / 51.5269°N 0.2159°W / 51.5269; -0.2159 (Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery)

1832 The first purpose-built Nonconformist chapel to be built in a public cemetery, its condition had deteriorated so much that its wings were demolished in the 1970s. Later that decade, the chapel underwent a major restoration, including rebuilding the wings, and restoring the original painting scheme.[29][30] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Thorndon Park Chapel Thorndon Park, Essex
51°35′55″N 0°19′48″E / 51.5987°N 0.3301°E / 51.5987; 0.3301 (Thorndon Park Chapel)

1850c. 1850 This was built as the private Roman Catholic chantry chapel and mausoleum for the Petre family in the grounds of Thorndon Hall. It was designed by William Wardell, and is in Decorated style. The interior has an elaborately decorated roof, including depictions of angels, and a richly carved reredos.[31][32] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Wainsgate Baptist Church Hebden Bridge,
West Yorkshire
53°45′20″N 2°00′15″W / 53.7555°N 2.0041°W / 53.7555; -2.0041 (Wainsgate Baptist Church)

1859–60 The chapel stands in an elevated position overlooking Hebden Bridge. Attached to the rear of the chapel is the former manse, converted into a school in 1890. The chapel closed in 2001, and is now a venue for concerts and other events.[33][34][35] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Todmorden Unitarian Church Todmorden,
West Yorkshire
53°42′40″N 2°05′56″W / 53.7111°N 2.0990°W / 53.7111; -2.0990 (Todmorden Unitarian Church)

1865–69 The church was built by the Fielden family, local mill owners, and it is constructed using the best quality materials. It was designed by John Gibson in Gothic style with a large spire 196 feet (60 m) high. Following a £1 million programme of repairs, which included restoration of the surrounding landscape and burial ground, it is now used for occasional services, weddings and other events.[36][37][38] align="center" style="background-color:"|I
Westgate Methodist Chapel Bishop Auckland,
County Durham
54°44′14″N 2°08′54″W / 54.7372°N 2.1482°W / 54.7372; -2.1482 (Westgate Methodist Chapel)

1871 Built for the Primitive Methodists, the chapel closed in 2007. It retains its Victorian layout, complete with the original pews, gallery, windows, a "magnificent organ", and much detailed decoration.[39][40] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Umberslade Baptist Church Hockley Heath,
West Midlands
52°20′48″N 1°47′09″W / 52.3467°N 1.7859°W / 52.3467; -1.7859 (Umberslade Baptist Chapel)

1877 George Ingall designed the church for the Baptist George Frederick Muntz, junior, of Umberslade Hall. It is constructed in blue lias stone in Decorated style with a spire, and has much elaborate detail. Repairs costing about £500,000 were completed in 2008.[41][42] align="center" style="background-color: "|II
Penrose Methodist Chapel St Ervan, Cornwall
50°29′53″N 4°59′50″W / 50.4980°N 4.9971°W / 50.4980; -4.9971 (Penrose Methodist Chapel)

1861 The chapel's plan is a simple rectangle with a single storey. Its interior retains its original layout, with box pews, and benches in the area once occupied by the musicians and choir.[43][44] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Longworth Roman Catholic Chapel Bartestree, Herefordshire
52°03′43″N 2°37′51″W / 52.0620°N 2.6308°W / 52.0620; -2.6308 (Longworth RC Chapel)

1869–70 Originally the medieval chapel to the manor house at Old Longworth, it was used for agricultural purposes after the Reformation. The chapel was restored in 1851, then moved to a site adjacent to convent at Bartestree in 1869–70. It is probable that the move and rebuilding were supervised by E. W. Pugin.[45][46] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Wallasey Memorial Unitarian Church Wallasey, Merseyside
53°25′18″N 3°02′28″W / 53.4216°N 3.0410°W / 53.4216; -3.0410 (Wallasey Memorial Unitarian Church)

1899 Designed by Edmund Waring and Edmund Rathbone in Arts and Crafts style, the church is constructed in brick with stone dressings. Many of the internal fittings were designed by Art Nouveau craftsmen from the Bromsgrove Guild.[47][48][49] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*
Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Blackpool, Lancashire
53°49′22″N 3°00′59″W / 53.8229°N 3.0165°W / 53.8229; -3.0165 (Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes)

1955–57 The shrine was built as a thanksgiving for the relatively small amount of damage sustained by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster during the Second World War. It was designed by Francis Xavier Verlarde and is constructed in Portland stone with copper cladding to its roof and flèche. As of 2010 the shrine is being converted into a community centre.[50][51][52] align="center" style="background-color: "|II*

See also


A This is the date of first construction of the existing building.


External links

  • Historic Chapels Trust official site

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