TitleLoxley United Reformed Church (formerly Loxley Congregational Chapel, formerly Loxley Independent Chapel), Loxley, Bradfield
AdminHistoryLoxley Chapel was built in 1787 by Rev. Benjamin Greaves, curate of Bradfield, originally for the use of the Established Church as a Chapel of Ease. The Chapel's first two ministers were Church of England clerygman. The first minister Rev. A. B. Greaves, combined morning services at St Martin's Chapel in Stoney Middleton, with afternoon services at Loxley Chapel (following a long ride on horseback). Greaves' successor was Rev. Flockton. In 1798, the chapel passed into the hands of "that body of Protestant dissenters called Independents" and became Loxley Independent Chapel.

In 1820, George Greaves, a London stockbroker, brother of the original minister of Loxley Chapel, Rev. A. B. Greaves, who had bank-rolled the building of the Chapel, became insolvent, and the Chapel was put up for sale at a public auction in Sheffield. With no sellers forthcoming, the members of the dissenting congregation who occupied Loxley Chapel at the time resolved to raise the money themselves to buy it. The Chapel was subsequently placed under the control of 13 Trustees, "to be a place of worship for ever for the use of that body of Protestant Dissenters called Independents". In 1821, the Trustees carried out building work to create a Sunday School adjoining the Chapel. On 15th May 1822, Loxley Chapel was reopened by Rev. Edward Parsons.

The Chapel's early congregational ministers, and serving spells, were as follows: Daniel Dunkerley 1802 - 1820, David Dunkerley 1821 - 1825, John Cullen 1826 - 1829, David Dunkerley 1830 - 1833 (second spell), John Hanson 1833 - 1851, various preachers 1851 - 1854, Thomas France 1854 - 1888, John Lee 1889 - 1913.

The Chapel was built with seating accommodation for 1,000 people. According to the religious census of 1851, the average congregation at the chapel at an afternoon service was 200. A number of victims of the 'Great Sheffield Flood' of 1864 are buried in the graveyard. On 24 October 1872, Henry Tingle Wilde (1872 - 1912), who would later serve as Chief Officer on the ill-fated passenger ship the RMS Titantic, was baptised at the Chapel. In 1875, the burial ground at the west end of the Chapel was extended and various trees were planted.

By 1889, the Chapel was generally known as Loxley Congregational Chapel. The building was restored in 1890 to a design by the architect (and Loxley Chapel deacon) Mr George Arnold Wilde (1841 - 1914) at a total cost of £1,639. George Arnold Wilde was an uncle of Henry Tingle Wilde mentioned above. The Chapel reopened on 15th February 1891, with the Rev. John Calvert of the Zion Chapel, Attercliffe conducting the service.

In 1906, there was a further extension to the graveyard. Ministers at Loxley Chapel in the 20th-century included the following: Rev. F. T. Leaton (appointed 1914), Rev. A. McKittrick (appointed 1920), Rev. H. S. Shepherd (appointed 1926), Rev. F. Mares (appointed 1946), Rev. F. W. Nicholls (appointed 1951).

In 1967, the interior of the Chapel was redecorated and 58 windows replaced at a cost of £438. In 1969, Rev. David Megson, minister at Hillsborough and Worrall had oversight at Loxley Chapel.

By December 1973, following the amalgamation of the Congregational Church with the Presbyterian Church, the Chapel became known as Loxley United Reformed Church. In 1979, the Sheffield West Group was formed and various ministers subsequently served at Loxley. The building was damaged during heavy storms in 1989 and forced to close temporarily. Loxley United Reformed Church reopened in November 1990 following repair work mostly funded by English Heritage.

Despite recent spending of over £100,000 on building renovations in 1990, Loxley United Reform Church ceased to be used as a place of worship in 1992 with its last service held on 30th November of that year. The burial ground remained in use. In 1996, the burial ground was sold to Hague Farming Ltd, Bradfield. Burials continued at the burial ground even though it had passed into private ownership. John Fairest, Funeral Directors of Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield, undertook most of the latter burials at Loxley and so later burial records relating to the burial ground are, at the time of writing (Dec 2019), lodged with them.

Loxley United Reformed Church (formerly Loxley Congregational Chapel, formerly Loxley Independent Chapel) was located on Chapel Lane in the village of Loxley in the parish of Bradfield and fell within the Wortley Civil Registration District.
DescriptionRegisters of Baptisms, 1799 - 1992 (NR2324/1)
Registers of Marriages, 1926 - 1992 (NR2324/2)
Registers of Graves, c. 1806 - 1997 (NR2324/3)
Burial Ground Plans, 1875 - [late 20th cent?] (NR2324/4)
Funeral/Graveyard Notebooks, 1889 - 1991 (NR2324/5)
Minutes of Church Meetings, 1804 - 1993 (NR2324/6)
Financial Records, 1819 - 1993 (NR2324/7)
Correspondence and Assorted Papers, 1787 - 1993 (NR2324/8)
Church Membership, 1917 - 1967 (NR2324/9)
Sunday School, 1865 - 1992 (NR2324/10)
Trust Deeds (Copies) [1821 - 1942] (NR2324/11)
Church/Site Plans, 1875 - 1990 (NR2324/12)
Photographs, [late 20th cent] (NR2324/13)
Works/Publications relating to Church History , 1854 - 1992 (NR2324/14)
United Reformed Church Sheffield West Group, 1979 - 1985 (NR2324/15)
Date1787 - 1997
Extent126 items
RelatedMaterialRelated Material at Sheffield Archives:

Plan of Loxley Chapel burial ground graves with headstones in the ground from the right hand side of the chapel to the retaining wall (sited behind the chapel “on the terrace”), giving inscriptions, drawn and compiled by Mr Ken Bilborough, 1998 (MD7329/1).

Hillsborough Community Development Trust project file relating to the possible purchase of the former Loxley Congregational Chapel building by the Hillsborough and District Buildings Preservation Trust, for re-use as a visitor centre and conference/exhibition space, 1995 (X239/4/7/1) .

Related Material at Sheffield Local Studies Library:

'Concerns over historic cemetery' by Robert Cumber [article about the neglect of Loxley Chapel and cemetery, where victims of the Great Flood in 1864 are buried], Sheffield Newspapers, 2018 (MP 6932 M).
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