Derbyshire Places of Worship

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Photograph at present.

Image by courtesy of
Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, Melbourne
Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel   [no longer registered]
72 Penn Lane, DE73 8EP,
Melbourne, Derbyshire.


We believe the Chapel did NOT have a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1779, but we understand it was closed in 1874, and the premises are now in secular use.

According to information supplied to me in 2004, there were three chapels on Penn Lane. A Quaker Chapel was demolished about 1987 to make way for a house extension; the original New Jerusalem Chapel is now part of Pennfield House, and this former Independent Chapel was converted into a house (Huntingdon House) in 1874. The property has been located thanks to a document Melbourne Conservation Area: Character Statement on the South Derbyshire District Council website, which mentions it twice, firstly as having a slate roof which pre-dates the introduction of Welsh slate, and secondly, in a list of properties with hipped roofs, where it is recorded as "72 Penn Lane - Huntingdon House".

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/444/2/2/12) for "Independent Chapel" describes a separate building in Melbourne erected in 1779 for a congregation of "Independents alias Congregationalists", used exclusively as a place of worship. There were free sittings for 50, and 190 "other" sittings, and the estimated congregation on March 30th was 32 in the morning, and 55 in the evening, with 45 Sunday Scholars to a morning class, and 51 in the afternoon. The return was completed by Joseph Watts Lethbridge, its Minister, of Melbourne, Derbyshire. He appears to have held very "progressive" views, as under the "Remarks" heading he advocated (1) "Total and immediate abolition of all Church Rates", (2) "The immediate and complete separation of the Church from the State", and (3) "The National Universities to be opened to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects".

The chapel is also mentioned in A Potted History of Melbourne United Reformed Church, as a forerunner of the present church (formerly Congregational) in the High Street, opened in 1871.


Now or formerly Countess of Huntingdon.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Chapel was located at OS grid reference SK3869524987. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.
Last updated on 6 Nov 2014 at 16:33.

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This Report was created 12 Jul 2018 - 04:08:46 BST from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 4 Jun 2017 at 08:14.

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