A walk through history………

1662 Act of Uniformity many ministers ejected from their pulpits, as they felt unable to abide by the Act.

1672 Act of Indulgence allowed ‘such as do not confirm to the Church of England, who are of the persuasion commonly called Presbyterian to meet and assemble in to their public worship and devotion in rooms or rooms in houses’.

1677 First entry made in register by Rev Samuel Angier.

1681 Rev Samuel Angier conducted his first services from 29th May.

1686 Congregation of Dissenters worshipping in a barn in Dukinfield under Minister Rev Samuel Angier.

1700 Evidence of School building on same plot of land where a chapel was built later. Schoolmaster Jeremiah Barlow.

1706 Land given by the Duckenfield family for building of a chapel for those ‘dissenting from the Church of England’.

1707 First chapel completed, the first place of public worship in Dukinfield. Became known as the White Chapel of T’Owd Chapel.

1708 First service held 19th August. Thanksgiving for victory at Oudenarde in East Flanders celebrated. First baptism on 12th September.

1709 First burial 3rd February.

1713 Rev Samuel Angier presented a silver Communion Cup to the congregation.

1714 Rev W Buckley became minister.

1752 Rev R Robinson became minister.

1755 Rev Gladston became minister.

1756 Rev J Helme became minister.

1757 Rev W Buckley (the Younger) became minister.

1767 Second Schoolmaster, Nathaniel Gee, known as Domine Gee, died.

1791 Rev D L Davies became minister.

1795 Rev T Smith became minister.

1799 Rev W Tate became minister.

1800 Rev J Hawkes became minister and almost immediately began a Sunday School.

1802 21st January chapel damaged by a ‘terrible great wind’.
1810 Land given by Francis Dukinfield Astley to build a Sunday School where Pickford Mews is now and where Pickford Lane and Town Lane meet.

1813 Act passed which relieved persons ‘who impugn the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity from certain penalties’ making Unitarians free persons in their own country at last.

1814 Rev J Ashton became minister.

1815 Resolved that no new graves be opened in the chapel yard.

1816 First organ introduced in chapel to replace a small orchestra.

1817 Rev T O Warwick became minister.

1819 Rev J Gaskell became minister.

1820 Extension to Sunday School.

1826 Chapel and extended chapel yard conveyed to Old Chapel Trustees by Francis Dukinfield Astley despite pressure from his step-father to make them over to the Church of England. Burials re-commenced.

1837 Rev R B Aspland became minister.

1838 Chapel showing signs of structural decay, decision made to erect a new building.

1839 7th January chapel destroyed in a terrible storm.

The ‘top room’ extension completed on Sunday school.

1840 26th August new chapel building opened.

Change to the constitution established a Chapel Committee to run the business of the chapel with a Chapel Warden in the chair. Previously, Seat Holders, those who paid pew rent, made decisions affecting the running of the chapel. The Trustees were responsible for the day to day business.

1841 The first Chapel Warden appointed, Henry Bayley.
Whitsuntide Annual Treat held. This pre-dates the Whitsuntide Walks.

1844 Dissenters’ Chapel Act passed legalising Unitarianism, making rights of the congregation secure.

1845 Interior of the chapel completed.
First record of Whitsuntide Walk on Whit Friday.

1852 Gas lighting installed in chapel.

1858 Rev J Gordon became minister.
A second silver Communion Cup presented by Jane Leech, wife of John of Gorse Hall, Stalybridge. They were the grandparents of Beatrix Potter, children’s author. Two silver patens were presented by Henry Bayley and Maria Aspland.

1859 East Cheshire Union of Christian Churches, later East Cheshire Union of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, began due to the efforts of Rev J Gordon.
1860 Entrance porch was added to the front of chapel.
First banner and band for Whit Friday processions.

1863 Rev J P Hopps became minister.

1865 Parsonage on Park Lane completed.

Three bays in the West Window of chapel filled with stained glass presented by James Ogden, David Harrison and Henry Bayley. Made by F Commhre and J Cappronier.

1870 Rev Henry Philip Wicksteed became Minister.
Non-sectarian Day School established following the Education Act. Schooling compulsory for all.

1872 Small stained glass windows in south east gallery presented by John Woolley and in the north east gallery by John Brooks. The windows made by Capronnier of Brussels.

1876 Present organ installed.

1881 Three large lancet windows installed in the south gallery presented by William Marshall in memory of his wife, Sarah. Also Capronnier windows.

1885 Rev H S Tayler became minister.
First women elected to Sunday School committee, Miss Richards and Miss Brooks.

1893 New West Front of chapel opened. Pews in body of Chapel altered. Stained glass panels transferred into new extended and elaborate West Window.
Dramatic Society established.

1896 Organ enlarged by Elizabeth Colston in memory of relatives buried in the graveyard.
1897 First chapel Calendar produced.

1898 New Sunday School banner for the Whit Walks cost #50.

1899 West Window two additional panels installed donated by Sydney Hyde and John Hall Brooks in memory of members of their families.

1900 Sunday School centenary celebrated on 22nd September.

1901 New wall and railings erected at front of chapel by bequest of H H Potter.

1902 Following the 1902 Education Act management of the Day School transferred to the Town Council. Problems with regard to the rent and responsibilities for the building rumbled on until 1906/07.

1906 Rev G Evans became minister.

1914/18 Many young men served in First World War as can be seen on the Roll of Honour those who died are commemorated on a brass plaque in what is now the baptistery.

1915 New Banner for Whit Friday procession.

1921 North Window unveiled to ‘The Glory of God and in sacred memory of the men from the Old Chapel and Sunday School who fell in the Great War’. The window was made by William Morris, Kennington.

1924 Whitsuntide banner designed by Mary Kellett and made by teachers and scholars used in Whit procession.

1925 Extension of chapel graveyard towards Fishpond Yard, now Chapel Close, due to initiative of Chapel Warden, Joshua Gartside.

1928 Second banner designed by Mary Kellett used in Whit procession.

1930 New stage erected in Sunday School.
Many trees planted in the chapel graveyard.

1934 Rev H Crabtree became minister.

1937 Operatic Society formed from the Choral Society which was established in 1934.

1939 Young People’s League started by Rev H Crabtree before he left.
Rev S P Whitehouse became minister and announced the outbreak of World War 2 at his first service, 3rd September 1939.
1939/45 West Window boarded up to protect it from flying shrapnel.

Whitsuntide processions suspended except for 1943.
Social life of chapel and school continued mainly by the efforts of the women members.

1946 Pantomime Society formed.

1948 Management of Day School transferred to Cheshire County Council.

1949 Dramatic Society re-formed.

1950 Lease on the Day School finally agreed after difficulties between Sunday School Committee and the Trustees.

1961 Rev K Wright became minister.

1963 Chapel constitution changed so that Chapel Wardens serve for no more than three years. Noel Lawton Howarth, first Chapel Warden under new rules.

1965 Rev P Short became minister.

1967 In November duplicated Chapel Magazine replaces commercially printed Chapel Calendar.

1968 Dedication of Garden of Remembrance in the chapel graveyard.

1969 Extensive overhaul of the organ.

1970/71 ‘One Family’ a slide show recording a year in the life of Old Chapel made and taken on tour.

1975 Following local authority re-organisation management of Day School transferred to Tameside Metropolitan Borough.

1976 Rev Dr D C Doel became minister.

1980 Dorothy Richardson became first woman Chapel Warden.
Sunday School Building demolished following departure of Day School to new premises.

1986 Re-location and re-dedication of Garden of Remembrance due to building of new School Hall in Chapel yard.
Foundation stone of School Hall laid by George R Swindells on 28th September.

1987 New School Hall in the Chapel yard opened by Annie Eastwood, Sunday School Director on 11th April.

1990 Change to the constitution. Chapel and Sunday School Committees abolished and one Old Chapel Council established. Frank Thomas first Chapel Warden chairing Council.

1996 School Hall extension opened by John Holland, Sunday School Director and C William (Bill) Pugh, Chair of Trustees.

1997 Rev Dr D V Marshall became minister.

2000 Sunday School bi-centenary celebrated 22nd September.

2001 Restoration of the organ begun.

2004/05 Dawn Buckle, former Chapel Warden, elected President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.

2005 Restoration of the organ completed and celebrated.

2006 Work commenced to eradicate Japanese Knott Weed from Chapel yard.

2007 Redecoration of the Chapel.
300th Anniversary of the first Chapel celebrated
Royal Visit from The Earl of Wessex – commemorative plaque unveiled


Please do take a look at the major renovation works that took place.