'Dukinfield Old Hall Congregational Chapel, Cheshire' by F.Whitehead (Mrs) 1980
The Astley Cheetham Art Collection, Tameside Museums and Galleries
Here is a link to the English Heritage website which records the formal LISTING of the Chapel as a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The current entry is dated 7 February 1989 and sadly the text is out of date in that the roof has now completely collapsed and /or been removed. Visit the English Heritage website to see the listing.
Dukinfield Old Hall Chapel is a Tudor structure which was the family chapel of the Duckenfield family of Dukinfield Hall (demolished).
During the 1640s and 1650s England was embroiled in the Civil War, and as an Independent and Congregational chapel, this building was part of a revolution in both religion and government.
Claims are made that it was the FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL IN THE COUNTRY (1642).
George Fox (founder of the Quaker movement) visited Dukinfield in 1647 and claims are also made that this was the FIRST PLACE HE EVER PROCLAIMED HIS VIEWS IN PUBLIC.
The Chapel, 16th Century, belonged to the Duckenfield Family and was important in the 1640s and 1650s in Congregational, Quaker and Unitarian history. The building (GradeII*) is now in a ruinous condition and on the English Heritage 'At-Risk' Register. We want to preserve this historic building for future generations.
In the 1650s the congregation split over the issue of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). The Trinitarians left, and those remaining became, it is also claimed, the FIRST CONGREGATION (outside London) PREACHING A UNITARIAN DOCTRINE.
Whatever the precise truth of the claims later made, the building has great historical significance for Congregationalists, Quakers and Unitarians- three religious movements of importance beyond our shores. It is also the last remaining link with the home of the Duckenfield family, Lords of the Manor until the 18th century.
Photo courtesy of Bob Alston 2009
A key document in understanding the history, present situation and future prospects of the building is a planning application and permission granted to the owners by Tameside Metropolitan Borough on 8 December 2008. Further information and guidance on accessing the planning document.