History of Upper Chapel
Upper Chapel (1700) Unitarian
The congregation was founded by James Fisher who was the Vicar of Sheffield Parish Church (now Sheffield Cathedral) during the Commonwealth of England. Rev. Fisher was expelled from the Parish Church on 24th August 1662 in the Great Ejection, during the Restoration of the monarchy, for refusing to sign the (4th) Act of Uniformity.
The present brick-built building, the first purpose-built non-conformist place of worship in Sheffield (originally called ‘New Chapel’), was erected in 1700 under the ministry of the Rev. Timothy Jollie and faced onto Fargate. In the 1840’s the chapel was turned around to face across Alsopp Fields.
It was faced with stone and a tetrastyle portico was added. In 1847 the roof was raised and the interior reconstructed, to include a gallery. Alterations by John Frith, were completed in1848.
From1890 onwards, 16 stained glass windows were installed (including one re-installation in 2001 of a window found in storage under stairs). Nine of them, all on the ground floor, were designed by Henry Holiday.
Originally, the Chapel had a congregation of 1000, which was one sixth of the population of Sheffield.
Channing Hall, Surrey Street.
The Chapel’s Channing Hall, in Surrey Street, the interior of which is in the italianate style, is named after the 19th Century American Unitarian minister Dr. William Ellery Channing. The hall was designed by Flockton and Gibbs and built in 1881 for ‘religious, educational and social purposes’.
A Trust Deed, dated 1704, established Upper Chapel as simply “a Public Meeting House for the worship and service of Almighty God”. So it remains.
No compulsory doctrine or creed is required for members or ministers. We affirm our commitment to religious freedom and our tolerance and respect for all faiths.
Membership of Upper Chapel is open to all who find themselves in sympathy with our manner of worship and spirit of fellowship. Members can, and sometimes do, belong to other denominations.