Cross Street Chapel

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The modern Cross Street Chapel

Cross Street Chapel is a Unitarian church in Manchester, England, famous in civic and national life for its contributions to piety and civil society. Cody Coyne currently serves as interim minister at Cross Street, having taken over pastoral responsibilities in the wake of Jane Barraclough's resignation from the ministerial post in late 2013. It is a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the umbrella organisation for British Unitarians.[1]


Cross Street Chapel c.1835

The Act of Uniformity 1662 imposed state control on religion by regulating the style of worship in the Church of England. However, many clergy rejected the restrictions, and of the 2000 ministers who were ejected from the established church, Rev. Henry Newcome established his own congregation that same year. The "Dissenters' Meeting House" was opened in 1694 and holds a special place in the growth of nonconformism within the city. The Chapel became the first place of worship to be granted a civil partnership licence when the law changed in England.[2]

The Chapel[edit]

The building was renamed the Cross Street Chapel and became a Unitarian meeting-house c.1761.[3] It was wrecked by a Jacobite mob in 1715, rebuilt and destroyed during a World War II air raid in December 1940. A new building was constructed in 1959 and the present structure dates from 1997. The Gaskell Room of the new building houses a collection of memorabilia of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell.

Notable ministry and congregation[edit]

Urban historian Harold L. Platt notes that in the Victorian period "The importance of membership in this Unitarian congregation cannot be overstated: as the fountainhead of Manchester Liberalism it exerted tremendous influence on the city and the nation for a generation."[4]

Cross Street Chapel interior


  1. ^ Find a Congregation: Manchester Cross Street, The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (Great Britain), retrieved 23 January 2011 
  2. ^ "Manchester Cross Street Chapel gains civil partnership licence". BBC News. 9 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Shercliff WH Manchester: A Short History of its Development, Municipal Information Bureau, Town Hall, Manchester (1960)
  4. ^ a b Platt, Harold L. (2005). Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago. University of Chicago Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780226670768. 
  5. ^ Hotz, Mary Elizabeth (Summer 2000). ""Taught by death what life should be": Elizabeth Gaskell's representation of death in "North and South"". Studies in the Novel 32 (2): 165–184. JSTOR 29533389. (subscription required)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°28′54″N 2°14′40″W / 53.4817°N 2.2444°W / 53.4817; -2.2444