Derbyshire Places of Worship

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Former Presbyterian Chapel, Ashbourne
Former Presbyterian Chapel   [no longer registered]
[50] St John Street,
Ashbourne, 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 the 1700s, but we understand it was closed in 1801, and the premises are now in secular use.

Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses, Derbyshire (1986) describes this place of worship as "Former Presbyterian, St John Street (SK 181 467)". This corresponds in the present day to 50 St John Street, described by Pevsner as "the former Magistrates' Court, looking like a Nonconformist chapel", as indeed it was. It is described on the British Listed Buildings website as having an early 19th century facade, of red brick, with "2 storeys, 3 windows, round-headed with glazing bars intact", and a 19th century shop front. To be strictly accurate, there are 4 windows, as there is one on the ground floor too, and a second entrance, leading to two separate addresses, #50a and #50b St John Street in the present day. One of the premises is now (2014) St John Street Gallery & Cafe, and photographs of the interior on their website show the windows contain coloured glass.

According to the NCC account, Presbyterian meetings were held fortnightly in the early 18th century, conducted by visiting ministers. The next we hear of the building however was when "'the old Presbyterian meeting-house, which had been shut up for some time, was procured' for the use of a new congregation gathered by ministers of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion". The account suggests a certificate dated October 1786 for "'an old erected building in Compton adjoining Ashbourne', noted as 'set apart from [for?] Presbyterians'" relates to this transaction.

This "new" congregation moved to a building of their own in Derby Road, in 1801, and their former meeting place became used for other purposes, including a period as a court-house.

"The building standing on the south side of the street behind a mid-19th century frontage incorporating a central entrance below three tall round-arched windows was formerly approached through Salt Alley on the west side. It has walls of brick and a slate roof, three round-arched windows in each side wall and two in the gabled south end. The chapel was much altered in the 19th century".

The latter may be a reference to it being built, or rebuilt, as St John's Hall; thus it was to become home to "St John's Free Congregational Church, later St John's Hall Church", recorded in Derbyshire Record Office's Non-Conformist Register Guide. This was for a period from 1858 until the congregation joined that of the Independent Sion Chapel in Derby Road in 1873. Thereafter, it reverted to other uses, as for instance during a period from 1994-2007 it is known to have been home to a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Today, however, as mentioned above, it appears to be wholly occupied by retail outlets.


Now or formerly Presbyterian.

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 SK1813946744. 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 Ashbourne, 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 13 Nov 2014 at 10:00.

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Further Information

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

Please also remember that the former Former Presbyterian Chapel is understood to be in secular use, so care should be taken to preserve the privacy of its occupants.

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You may wish to take a look at our About the Places of Worship Database page for an overview of the information provided, and any limitations which may be present.

This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 02:33:12 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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