Derbyshire Places of Worship

Default Image We do not have an Image of this Place of Worship as it has been Demolished Place of Worship has been

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Unitarian Chapel (Demolished), Duffield
Unitarian Chapel (Demolished),
Wirksworth Road,
Duffield, 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 1766, but we understand it was closed in 1867.

A Unitarian (formerly Presbyterian) Chapel in Duffield is recorded in Derbyshire Record Office's Non-Conformist Register Guide, founded 1766. It also states registers of baptism exist (on microfilm) for the periods 1750-1773, and 1806-1835. The first register is the private register of the former chaplain to Henry Cope, of Duffield.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/446/3/1/9) for Duffield's Unitarian Chapel describes a separate building used exclusively as a place of worship, founded "before 1800 (in 1788)", having 310 free seats and 166 "other" sittings. The estimated congregation on March 30th was 80 to afternoon service, and 260 in the evenings. The return was completed in a beautiful copperplate script, but unfortunately, I am unable to be sure of the signature - it looks like "Rect S. Leys", who styled himself "Minister", and lived in "King St., Belper, Derbyshire". He remarked that "there is no Sunday School connected with the Chapel, but about 180 or 200 Scholars from Messrs Strutt's private Sunday School occupy the free sittings in the Afternoon." And "Evening Lectures during the Winter Months only with an average of 200 Attendants".

I was unable to find the Chapel on Old Maps, but perhaps this is unsurprising, as according to the National Index of Parish Registers it was closed in 1867. However, thanks to an account of Old Duffield - Village, Church and Castle on the website Duffield History (based on a Lecture given before the Duffield Branch of the Church of England Men's Society in 1921), I learned that after it closed, the building was put to use in other ways - "a news-room, a coffee room, an infants' schoolroom (for many years), a YMCA institute and gymnasium, a CLB ["Church Lads' Brigade?"] drill hall, and all the time a meeting place for all sorts of gatherings".

Thus it has been possible to locate it after all, as Old Maps of 1880-1881 show what I presume to be the Infant School, situated on the south side of Wirksworth Road, a short distance west of its junction with the main road. On later Maps (1900 and 1914) the same building is indicated as a Mission Room; whilst in the present day, a block of apartments named "Abbeydale Court" occupies the site.

Note: the above-mentioned Duffield History website has a note on Henry Cope, or Coape (1704-1778), to the effect that he lived at Duffield Hall. There are other references in Lysons' Magna Britannia (1817, Vol 5), and Tilley's Old Manors, Halls and Families of Derbyshire (1899, Vol 2) to the family's ownership of the same.


Now or formerly Presbyterian/Unitarian.

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 in the town/village nearest OS grid reference SK3441943219. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Duffield, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Information last updated on 18 Nov 2014 at 08:43.

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This Report was created 9 Dec 2023 - 17:34:38 GMT from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:33.

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