It was founded in 1719.
This congregation started life as an Independent Chapel at Bass Lane and then moved to Bury. The first Presbyterian chapel was built on the corner of Silver Street and Bank Street. There was also a graveyard. Around 1790, the majority of the congregation adopted the Unitarian belief. Two further chapels were built on the same plot but about 50 yards further along Bank Street. When the urban graveyards were closed about 1855, the congregation obtained land to the east of the town to be a new graveyard. This is Holebottom Graveyard. There was only a graveyard chapel there and it was not used for regular worship. In the 1970s the third chapel on Bank Street was found to be riddled with dry rot and had to be replaced. The present chapel was built on the site of the old school, about 50 yards west. The congregation is still worshipping there today.
Bank Street Chapel, Bury During the Commonwealth, Henry Pendlebury was ordained for Holcombe Chapelry in 1650, but was ejected from his post under the Act of Uniformity after the restoration of the monarchy. Effectively he then went underground and established a chapel on Bass Lane, Walmersley. He died in 1695 and was buried in Bury Parish graveyard.
He was followed by Rev. Edward Rothwell who later had an assistant the Rev. Thomas Braddock. When Rev. Edward Rothwell moved the chapel to Dundee Lane, Ramsbotton, Rev. Thomas Braddock moved to serve the southern part of the congregation in Bury at a newly erected meeting house at the corner of Bank Street and Silver Street. He died in 1770 and was buried in the Chapel graveyard.
The next minister was the Rev. John Hughes who around 1790 became an Arian and his congregation followed him to become Unitarians. He was followed by the Rev. William Allard, and then by the Rev. Franklin Howarth. The latter built a new Chapel in 1832 and, following the excavation work for Bury railway station, had to replace it in 1852. This was the third chapel on the same site.
Mr. Howarth left the Unitarian ministry in 1853 and founded the Free Christian Church in Bury as a non-denominational church. He was followed at Bank Street Chapel by the Rev. John Wright. About this time graveyards in towns were closed by Act of Parliament on health grounds. The chapel acquired land to the east of the town and Holebottom Cemetery was laid out and opened in 1857.
John Wright was succeeded in 1873 by the Rev. Douglas Walmsley. The congregation grew and around 1880 a daughter chapel was opened in Chesham.
The twentieth century saw two World Wars and the tragedies they brought. The town of Bury across the middle of the century changed from a town with very mixed residential and industrial areas to a town where the residential part was around the edge and the centre was mainly commercial and industrial. By 1970, the 1852 chapel was infested with dry rot and beyond the means of the congregation to repair. This chapel had to be demolished. A new one was erected close by and is still in use today.
Unitarians believe in the Unity or unipersonality of God, as opposed to the doctrine of the Trinity - hence the name 'Unitarian'. Unitarianism only became legal in 1813 but was particularly influential in the 19th century.
Whilst every effort has been made to record exact details of record office and library holdings you are recommended to check with them before visiting to ensure that they do hold the records and years you wish to examine. Similarly check with transcript publishers to ensure they cover the records and years you require before making a purchase
Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Manchester Central Library, hold copies of:
- Baptisms 1723-1837
- Burials 1832-1837
The Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society
- Bank Street Chapel Burial Register 1839-1893 (fiche B109). This may include burials at Holebottom Cemetery as well as in the town centre chapel graveyard.
This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no connection with the churches themselves. For current information you should contact them directly. Whilst every effort has been made to record exact details of record office and library holdings
you are recommended to check with them before visiting to ensure that they do hold the records and years you
wish to examine. Similarly check with transcript publishers to ensure they cover the records and years
you require before making a purchase
Copies of Original Registers