Unitarian History

Elizabeth GaskellThroughout our history Unitarians have stood for inclusivity, reason and social justice including gender equality (we’ve had women ministers for more than 100 years), gay rights (we’ve performed same-sex blessings for more than 30 years) and the abolition of slavery.

The earliest organised Unitarian movements were founded in the 16th century in Poland and Transylvania following a move away from the traditional ‘trinitarian’ doctrine of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit towards favouring the unity of one God.

In Britain, Unitarianism was damned as heresy and the death penalty imposed on anyone who denied the trinity. Several early radical reformers professed Unitarian beliefs in the 16th and 17th centuries, some suffering imprisonment and martyrdom. The first Unitarian church in the UK was opened in London in 1774 and there are now more than 170 congregations throughout the country.

Prominent Unitarians include Joseph PriestleyElizabeth Gaskell (pictured right), Charles DickensThomas Jefferson,Louisa May AlcottPaul NewmanKurt VonnegutSarah AdamsFrank Lloyd Wright and Tim Berners-Lee.   

Upcoming Events

  • Upper Chapel is now meeting physically on Sundays and Wednesdays, under appropriate Covid-safe restrictions: Social distancing, masks, no refreshments, no singing, etc. - though we are hopeful these will be lifted in late June. More events
  • Sunday services are in Chapel and, where possible, Zoomed: Services are currently 11am most Sundays but 6.30pm on the third Sunday Contact the Minister (see below) for Zoom joining instructions More events
  • Wednesday Lunchtime openings are in Chapel: 1130-1300 approx. with reflection at 1215 More events
  • Alternative Gathering remains on Zoom: Second and fourth Sundays at 5pm Contact the Minister (see below) for Zoom joining instructions More events
  • Upper Chapel Strollers: First walk of 2021 on Saturday 5th June More events