Gravel Pit Chapel
The Gravel Pit Chapel was established in 1715–16 in Hackney, then just outside London, for a Nonconformist congregation, which by the early 19th century began to identify itself as Unitarian. In 1809 the congregation moved to the New Gravel Pit Chapel nearby, while its old premises were taken over by Congregationalists. The New Gravel Pit Chapel was closed and demolished in 1969.
The Gravel Pit Chapel was established in 1715–16 in Hackney, then a village north-east of London, for a Presbyterian congregation seceding from that of John Barker, after the death of Matthew Henry. It took its name from the gravel pit near the bowling green in Mare Street.
In 1809 the congregation moved to new premises in Paradise Place in 1809, and began to identify itself as Unitarian. The original building, from then on known as the "Old Gravel Pit Chapel", was taken over by Congregationalists.
The New Gravel Pit Chapel was described in 1908 as being at the west end of Retreat Place, a row of almshouses. It was rebuilt in a Gothic style in 1857, and remained in use until it was damaged during the Blitz in 1940. The congregation continued to meet in Aspland Hall (the Chapel's church hall, erected in 1912) where they largely remained even when repairs to the Chapel were completed in 1953, due to the cost of heating the Chapel. The last service in the repaired chapel was a 300th anniversary foundation commemoration held on 2 October 1966. The Greater London Council purchased the site and demolished the Chapel in 1969, in order to build flats. The burial ground survives and includes historical references to some of the people buried in the grounds.
Original Gravel Pit congregation
- 1716 Daniel Mayo and George Smith or Smyth
- 1723–1747? George Smith alone
- 1747 Thomas Mole
- 1754–1758 Thomas Dawson
- Timothy Laugher, died 1769
- 1770–1791 Richard Price
- To 1792 Thomas Morgan
- 1791–1794 Joseph Priestley
- 1793–1794 Michael Maurice
- 1794–1805 Thomas Belsham
- 1805 Robert Aspland
New Gravel Pit Chapel
The Unitarian New Gravel Pit congregation first met on 4 November 1810, in a new building designed by the architect Edmund Aikin, nephew of Anna Letitia Barbauld, who provided his services without charge. It included Charles Hennell, David Ricardo and Daniel Whittle Harvey.
- 1810–1845 Robert Aspland
- 1843–1846 Thomas Sadler
- 1847–1852 John Boucher
- 1853–1857 Thomas Lethbridge Marshall
- 1858–1869 Robert Brook Aspland
- 1870–1891 James Thornely Whitehead
- 1893 Samuel Fletcher Williams.
Old Gravel Pit Chapel (Congregationalist)
In 1810 a congregationalist group, who had seceded from the Ram's Chapel in Homerton after the death of John Eyre, leased the old Gravel Pit Chapel, then in Morning Lane, Hackney. They had gathered from 1804 at Homerton College.
The last service in the Old Gravel Pit Chapel was held in 1871. The congregation moved to the new Round Chapel, on the Clapton Park Estate, in Upper Clapton. From 1874 there was an Old Gravel Pit mission in the building.
- T. F. T. Baker, ed. (1995). "Hackney: Protestant Nonconformity". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- T. F. T. Baker, ed. (1995). "Hackney: Homerton and Hackney Wick". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "www.ukunitarians.org.uk, London Unitarian Heritage Trail". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Mohammed, Syma. "Bulldozer threat to historic pub as Pringle store in Hackney may make way for seven-storey shopping complex". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
- G. E. Mitton, Sir Walter Besant (editor), Hackney and Stoke Newington (1908), pp. 16–7; archive.org.
- Rushton, Alan (1995). "Unitarian gothic : rebuilding in Hackney 1858" (PDF). Hackney History. 1: 20–24. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
- Bartholomew, Emma (18 June 2019). "The Gravel Pit Chapel: The radical congregation buried in Hackney's secretive walled-off graveyard". The Hackney Gazette. Archant. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
- Gubbins, Sean. "Unitarian Gothic - New Gravel Pit Chapel, Chatham Place". Layers of London. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
- Vestiges of Protestant Dissent by George Eyre Evans (PDF), at pp. 145–6.[permanent dead link]
- John Davies (1853). An account of the Old gravel pit meeting house, Hackney, with notices of its ministers. p. 14. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 37. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- John Davies (1853). An account of the Old gravel pit meeting house, Hackney, with notices of its ministers. p. 22. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- David Young (1992). F. D. Maurice and Unitarianism. Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-826339-5. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Robert Brook Aspland (1850). Memoir of the Life, Works and Correspondence of the Rev. Robert Aspland, of Hackney. E.T. Whitfield. p. 255. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography, Robert Brook Aspland.
- booth.lse.ac.uk, Search survey notebook.
- "Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, History of The Round Chapel". Archived from the original on 17 August 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Benjamin Clarke (1986). David Mander (ed.). Glimpses of Ancient Hackney and Stoke Newington. London Borough of Hackney. p. 99. ISBN 1870165004.