Historic Chapels Trust

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Foundation and Purpose

The Historic Chapels Trust cares for redundant non-Anglican churches chapels and other places of worship in England. Established in 1993, it takes into ownership buildings of exceptional architectural and historic significance that are no longer used by their congregations. In practice this means buildings listed Grade I or II* by English Heritage. It was founded in response to the large number of places of worship that were being demolished or destroyed by insensitive conversion and it remains the only body with this mission in England.

Once acquired, the buildings are repaired and restored, and then available for new community uses. The places of worship can be of any denomination or faith, other than the Anglican Church. To date they have included Nonconformist chapels and churches, Quaker meeting houses and Roman Catholic churches. The Trust has the power to take synagogues and non-Christian places of worship but in spite of negotiations has not yet done so.[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]

Finances

The Trust has no endowment and receives no direct government grant. Its resources are won from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, money earned by events at the buildings, grants from trusts and foundations, legacies from Supporters and donations from individuals and Patrons. This is in contrast with the larger Churches Conservation Trust, which received 70 percent of its funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Church of England but which can only take into care Anglican buildings.[2] At about half of its sites the Trust has formed a volunteer local committee to organise events, arrange occasional services of worship. At others it engages volunteers as key-holders and to assist with the maintenance of sites. Whenever possible and appropriate, the Trust installs modern heating and lighting, kitchens and toilets.[2] In 2012 the Trust declared a temporary moratorium on acquiring new sites unless they are donated together with endowment funds, a policy it will review when finances allow.

Activities

The Trust has to date acquired 20 properties.[1] 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 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]

Governance

The Trust is a secular UK charity. In 2015 the President of the Trust is the Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith, MP, the Chair of Trustees is Debbie Dance OBE and the Director is Roland Jeffery. There is a very small staff and a board of trustees.[3]

Preserved chapels

Key

Grade Criteria[4]
I Buildings of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important
II* Particularly important buildings of more than special interest
II Buildings of national importance and special interest
Name Location Photograph Date[A] Notes Grade
Farfield Friends Meeting House Addingham,
West Yorkshire
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A small, simple chapel seen almost end-on in a grassy burial ground; it is built in stone with a moss-covered roof. On the end is a window with open shutters; on the front face is a door and two shuttered windows. 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] II*
Walpole Old Chapel Walpole, Suffolk
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100px 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] II*
Cote Baptist Chapel Bampton, Oxfordshire
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100px 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] II*
Salem Chapel East Budleigh, Devon
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100px 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] II*
Coanwood Friends Meeting House Haltwhistle, Northumberland
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100px 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] II*
Grittleton Strict Baptist Chapel Grittleton, Wiltshire
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1720 c. 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] II*
St George's German Lutheran Church Alie Street, London
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The end of a symmetrical brick building in two storeys. On the ground floor are two doorways between which is a Venetian-style window; in the upper storey are two round-headed windows with a semicircular inscribed plaque between; over this is a white cross and the building is topped by a gable.
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] II*
St Benet's Chapel Netherton, Merseyside
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100px 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] II*
Bethesda Methodist Chapel Hanley,
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
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Bethesda Methodist Church, Hanley.jpg
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] II*
Biddlestone Chapel Biddlestone, Northumberland
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A short, relatively tall chapel, with three arched windows in the near face, and a taller similar window in the face receding to the right 1820 c. 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] II*
Dissenters' Chapel Kensal Green Cemetery, London
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100px 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] II*
Thorndon Park Chapel Thorndon Park, Essex
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The entrance front of a Gothic chapel with a steep gable and a small spire to the right
1850 c. 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] II*
Wainsgate Baptist Church Hebden Bridge,
West Yorkshire
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A two-storey gabled stone building seen from an angle with another building attached behind it. There are round-headed windows and a door in the nearer building with straight-headed windows in the building behind it. 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] II*
Todmorden Unitarian Church Todmorden,
West Yorkshire
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A Gothic style church dominated by a large, elaborate tower with a spire and pinnacles.
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] I
Westgate Methodist Chapel Bishop Auckland,
County Durham
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Westgate Methodist Chapel.jpg 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] II*
Umberslade Baptist Church Hockley Heath,
West Midlands
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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] II
Penrose Methodist Chapel St Ervan, Cornwall
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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] II*
Longworth Roman Catholic Chapel Bartestree, Herefordshire
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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] II*
Wallasey Memorial Unitarian Church Wallasey, Merseyside
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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] II*
Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Blackpool, Lancashire
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A grey-white stone chapel seen from the northwest, with a central spirelet with a cross. There is an elaborate carving of the Crucifixion over the west door, a tall pinnacle at the corner, and elaborate stone tracery in the windows along the side
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] II*

See also

Notes

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

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Historic Chapels Trust, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Memorandum submitted by the Historic Chapels Trust to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, Parliament of the United Kingdom, 2006, retrieved 13 July 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Who We Are, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  6. Historic England, "Friends' Meeting House, Addingham (1199556)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Walpole Old Chapel, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. Cote Baptist Chapel, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Historic England, "Cote Baptist Chapel, Aston, Cote (1284460)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Salem Chapel, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Historic England, "Salem Church Including Boundary Walls And Assembly Room, East Budleigh (1097511)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17. Historic England, "Grittleton Baptist Chapel (1363850)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. St George's German Lutheran Church, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. St George's German Lutheran Church, St George's German Lutheran Church, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  21. St Benet's RC Chapel, Merseyside, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  28. Historic England, "Roman Catholic Chapel, Biddlestone (1041304)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. The Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Historic England, "The Dissenters Chapel, Kensington (1080628)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Chantry Chapel and Burial Ground, Thorndon Par, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Historic England, "Chantry Chapel and Mausoleum, Thorndon Park (1293260)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  37. Todmorden Unitarian Church, Todmorden Unitarian Church, retrieved 28 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  40. Historic England, "Westgate Primitive Methodist Chapel, Stanhope (1232510)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  44. Historic England, "Methodist Chapel, St Ervan (1212478)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  46. Historic England, "Roman Catholic Church of St James, Bartestree (1099878)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 June 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. Wallasey Memorial Unitarian Church, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  50. Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Historic Chapels Trust, retrieved 27 June 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], The Buildings of England. Lancashire: North, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 157–158, ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links