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 Sunday services have restarted at 11am fortnightly: Services on 13th and 27th September More events
  • 'Leaves' - a service: Sunday 27th September 11am ONLY More events
  • Wednesday lunchtime Chapel openings (with 1215 reflection): Now resumed 1130-1300 More events
  • Upper Chapel Groups and non-service Events: Most other Upper Chapel activities that involve physical meeting are cancelled/postponed during the current Coronavirus situation. More events
  • Alternative Gathering moves to Zoom: Alternative Gathering is on 1st and 3rd Sundays at 5pm. Contact the Minister (details below) for information. More events
  • Wednesday Lunchtime Social on Zoom: 1100-1200 approx. Contact the Minister (seebelow) for details. More events
  • Upper Chapel Services are currently distributed primarily via email : Contact the Minister (see below) if you are interested in being on our email list. More events