Gravel Pit Chapel

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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.

History[edit]

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.[1][2] It took its name from the gravel pit near the bowling green in Mare Street.[1]

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 site of the Old Gravel Pit Chapel on Chatham Place still exists;[3] in 2004 the site was in use as a shoe factory,[3] and by 2013 was a branch of Aquascutum.[4]

The New Gravel Pit Chapel was described in 1908 as being at the west end of Retreat Place, a row of almshouses.[5] It was rebuilt in a Gothic style in 1857, and remained in use until bomb damage in 1940, due to bomb damage.[1] 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 2nd October 1966. The Greater London Council purchased the site and demolished the Chapel in 1969, in order to build flats.[6] The burial ground survives and includes historical references to some of the people buried in the grounds.[7][8]


Original Gravel Pit congregation[edit]

The Mare Lane congregation went back to William Bates (1668).[9]

New Gravel Pit Chapel[edit]

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.[14] It included Charles Hennell, David Ricardo and Daniel Whittle Harvey.[1]

In 1858 the chapel was rebuilt in a Dissenting Gothic style, to the designs of Arthur Ashpitel.[1][15]

Old Gravel Pit Chapel (Congregationalist)[edit]

In 1810 a congregationalist group, who had seceded from the Ram's Chapel in Homerton after the death of John Eyre,[1] leased the old Gravel Pit Chapel, then in Morning Lane, Hackney.[17] They had gathered from 1804 at Homerton College.[1]

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,[1][17] in Upper Clapton. From 1874 there was an Old Gravel Pit mission in the building.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i T. F. T. Baker (Editor) (1995). "Hackney: Protestant Nonconformity". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 17 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ T. F. T. Baker (Editor) (1995). "Hackney: Homerton and Hackney Wick". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 17 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "www.ukunitarians.org.uk, London Unitarian Heritage Trail". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  4. ^ Mohammed, by 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ G. E. Mitton, Sir Walter Besant (editor), Hackney and Stoke Newington (1908), pp. 16–7; archive.org.
  6. ^ Rushton, Alan (1995). "Unitarian gothic : rebuilding in Hackney 1858" (PDF). Hackney History. 1: 20–24. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Gubbins, Sean. "Unitarian Gothic - New Gravel Pit Chapel, Chatham Place". Layers of London. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Vestiges of Protestant Dissent by George Eyre Evans (PDF), at pp. 145–6.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ John Davies (1853). An account of the Old gravel pit meeting house, Hackney, with notices of its ministers. p. 14. Retrieved 17 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Mayo, Daniel" . Dictionary of National Biography. 37. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  12. ^ John Davies (1853). An account of the Old gravel pit meeting house, Hackney, with notices of its ministers. p. 22. Retrieved 17 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ David Young (1992). F. D. Maurice and Unitarianism. Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-826339-5. Retrieved 18 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography, Robert Brook Aspland.
  16. ^ booth.lse.ac.uk, Search survey notebook.
  17. ^ a b Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, History of The Round Chapel.
  18. ^ Benjamin Clarke (1986). David Mander (ed.). Glimpses of Ancient Hackney and Stoke Newington. London Borough of Hackney. p. 99. ISBN 1870165004.

Coordinates: 51°32′48″N 0°03′03″W / 51.5468°N 0.0507°W / 51.5468; -0.0507