Fulwood Old Chapel - a unitarian meeting place
8a Whiteley Lane, Fulwood, Sheffield S10 4GL www.fulwood-old-chapel.org.uk [email protected]
Between 1549 and 1662, four separate Acts of Uniformity were passed to ensure that the Book of Common Prayer was the only acceptable form of service within the Church of England. Those who refused to conform were called Dissenters and, under severe risk of penalty, were forced to conduct clandestine services. The Act of Toleration of 1689 started a process reforming this legislation, which was finally dismantled by the Doctrine of the Trinity Act of 1813.
During this period, Dissenters living west of Sheffield held their meetings at Fullwood Hall, the home of John Fox who, in 1714 had finally been granted a license for the use of his house as a place of worship. When William Ronksley, a friend of Fox and a Dissenter himself, died in 1724 he left in his will £400 to build ‘a large and handsome’ meeting house. As a result, Fulwood Old Chapel was built in 1728/29 for the princely sum of £75!
Since then it has been used by various non-conformist denominations and in 1849 was finally 'certified as a place of religious worship and duly registered for the solemnizing of marriages' (Taken from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independence dated March 3rd, 1849).
In the early 1900's, the building was closed but was re-opened as a Unitarian Chapel in 1934 and has remained as a unitarian Meeting Place ever since.
The Chapel’s 2ft thick walls, outer doors and mullioned windows are original. A Chapel House and School Room were added around 1754. Interior renovations took place in 1934 when electric lighting & gas fires were installed. The fires were replaced in the 1950’s by electric panel heating. An extension to the School Room in 1968 included a kitchen and toilets and these were further extended and modernised in 2009. The garden was redesigned in 2005 to provide wheelchair access.
In the late 1920's the lane in front of the chapel was widened to accomodate the advent of the motor car. The chapel lost some of its frontage including some grave stones but became the custodian of the village stocks which had previously stood on the green and have been the custodians ever since
Samuel Plimsoll is believed to have attended chapel in the 1860’s whilst living at Whitley Wood Hall. His first child, Eliza, is said to have been buried under the floor of the building but the original floor of stone slabs is now hidden by a false flooring of wood.