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Building record MDR12612 - Wirksworth United Reformed Church, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Independent Chapel, Coldwell street, built in 1700, was formerly in possession of the Presbyterians, but was re-opened in 1703 [sic], by the Independents. (1) There is an Independent Chapel situated here on the 1st edition OS map. (2) A chapel was built in 1700 for the Presbyterians. The members afterwards became Independents, and are now known as Congregationalists. The chapel was rebuilt in 1873 at a cost of £1,500, raised by subscription. The style is Gothic, and accommodation is afforded for 300 persons. The pulpit and platform were the gift of Mrs Hunt of Bole Hill. During the progress of the work, a brick vault was discovered under the communion table, containing a leaden coffin, in which was the perfect skeleton of a man. There was no inscription, but, from the position of the vault under the communion table, it is supposed that one of the early Puritan divines had been buried here. (3) The Congregational Chapel, in Coldwell Street, was first founded in 1700, and restored in 1868 at a cost of £1,350. It will seat 350. (4) The first chapel in Wirksworth was built (or converted from an existing structure) in 1699 by Robert Hayworth, and it was opened in 1700, the year before his death. His leaden coffin was discovered during the construction of the existing building on the same site. The old chapel is reputed to have had wooden shutters to the windows and a high surrounding wall to protect it and its occupants from attacks, due to the unpopularity of dissenters at the time. A large vestry was built on to the side of this old chapel, in which the Sunday school took place. The chapel apparently fell in to disuse and was hired by the Wesleyan Methodists for their meetings. The Wesleyans had moved from the chapel prior to 1803 and in to their own premises [see SMR 28364]. In 1803 it was acquired by the Independents, and following considerable repairs was re-opened later that year. In August 1866, the corner stone of a new Congregational Chapel was laid, and it was completed by the end of the following year. The old chapel had become unfit for purpose, and so funds were raised by public subscription for a new chapel. It is built of rubble, with a pink sandstone ashlar finish and proud quoins in a similar but cream coloured stone, and has a slate roof. It remains substantially unaltered by man, but has suffered considerably from weathering. Buildings surrounding the chapel were demolished in 1974 to provide a car park. The Early English styling of this chapel is unusual for the period in which it was built. Its design is perhaps a step towards Gothicism, but without the elaborate adornments that are normally found in Gothic revival architecture. It is certainly unique in Wirksworth and is probably a rare example of a movement away from the vernacular tradition in to a polite field that largely ignored national fashion. (5) This building is still in use as a place of worship [2011]. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: White, F & Co.. 1857. History, Gazetteer & Directory of the County of Derby. p 453.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Bulmer, T and Co.. 1895. History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire. p 493.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Kelly, A L (ed.). 1912. Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire. p 441.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Simpson, R W. 1981. The Nineteenth Century Chapels of Wirksworth: An Aspect of Vernacular Architecture. pp 4-7, 48-61.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). Current Mastermap and 1:10000 series.



Grid reference Centred SK 2871 5406 (15m by 15m)

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Record last edited

Dec 14 2017 4:28PM

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