TitleSheffield, Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Unitarian Church
AdminHistoryIn 1660 the Rev. James Fisher was deprived of the living at Sheffield Parish Church (now the Cathedral). Many members of the congregation followed him and in 1662 formed a dissenting congregation to which he continued to preach, mainly in their homes. He was arrested and imprisoned in York Castle several times, and died in January 1666. The congregation continued to meet, under easier circumstances after 1689 (Act of Toleration), finally purchasing some land off Alsop Fields and building the Upper Chapel in Norfolk Street, Sheffield in 1700 (although most of the present building dates from 1848 following enlargements).

The first minister of the new chapel was Timothy Jollie, and soon after its opening, the chapel membership stood at 1,200, a notable figure considering the size of the town at that time (in 1736 there were 2,152 families in the town comprising 9,695 individuals). It was the only nonconformist church in Sheffield at the beginning of the eighteenth century, its trust deed specifying that it was erected "for the worship of Almighty God without restriction of creed". Jollie died on 28th March 1714 and was buried in the chapel grounds. After his death there was a doctrinal split in the congregation, some of whom moved further down Norfolk Street and founded the Nether Chapel.

Many local people of note have been connected with Upper Chapel. Thomas Jessop (1804 - 1887) was a life-long member and a trustee of the chapel, and is best remembered for the foundation of the Jessop Hospital for Women (opened in 1878), reputed to have cost him £30,000. Thomas Asline Ward (1781 - 1871) was a chapel trustee for many years, a Town Trustee 1817 - 1863, secretary to the Sheffield Book Society, and active in the formation of the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1822. He is buried in the graveyard in Upper Chapel.

Florence Nightingale attended services at Upper Chapel on several occasions whilst on visits to her relatives, the Shores of banking fame. Joseph Hunter (1783 - 1861), author of "Hallamshire" and "South Yorkshire", was the adopted son of the Rev. Joseph Evans, minister of Upper Chapel 1758 - 1803, and himself a Unitarian minister for 24 years at Trim Street Chapel in Bath. In his youth, Ebenezer Elliott, the 'Corn Law Rhymer', was a member of the Upper Chapel congregation, and in 1796 Samuel Taylor Coleridge made an unsuccessful attempt to preach there.
DescriptionComposite Registers of Baptisms and Burials, 1681 - 1837 (UCR/1)
Registers of Baptisms (NOT YET DEPOSITED) (UCR/2)
Registers of Marriages, 1837 - 2020 (UCR/3)
Registers of Burials, 1837 - 1854 (UCR/4)
Monumental Inscriptions, [compiled early 20th cent?] (UCR/5)
Trustee/Committee Minutes, 1821 - 1998 (UCR/6)
Library and Book Society/Literary Society, 1793 - 1904 (UCR/7)
Sunday School, 1818 - 1987 (UCR/8)
Choir (and Organ) 1847 - 1950 (UCR/9)
Boys' Club, 1893 - 1897 (UCR/10)
Literary and Social Union, 1904 - 1922 (UCR/11)
Football Club, 1910 - 1935 (UCR/12)
Belgian Refugee Fund Committee, 1914 - 1923 (UCR/13)
112th (Sheffield) Upper Chapel Scout Troop, 1924 - 1966 (UCR/14)
Upper Chapel Institute, 1929 - 1936 (UCR/15)
Women's League, 1930 - 1997 (UCR/16)
Congregational Fellowship, 1940 - 1949 (UCR/17)
Young Peoples' Club, 1947 - 1952 (UCR/18)
Worship Group, 1971 - 1981 (UCR/19)
Correspondence and Assorted Papers, 1763 - 1998 (UCR/20)
Printed Material (relating to Upper Chapel), 1835 - 1980 (UCR/21)
Financial Records, 1735 - 2000 (UCR/22)
Deeds and Legal Records, 1704 - 1881 (UCR/23)
Charity Records, 1740 - 1978 (UCR/24)
Photographs, [late 19th cent - c. 1960] (UCR/25)
Plans, 1866 - 1950 (UCR/26)
Miscellaneous Printed Material (not directly relating to Upper Chapel), 1873 - 1953 (UCR/27)
Date1681 - 2020
Extent484 items
RelatedMaterialRelated Material at Sheffield Archives:

For a detailed history of the chapel, see 'A History of Upper Chapel, Sheffield: A Bicentennial Volume with an appendix containing Timothy Jollie's Register of Baptisms' by J. E. Manning (Sheffield Independent Press, 1900) (Searchroom Library: MAN/PAR HIST) (also available at Sheffield Local Studies Library: 288 SST)

Copy register of baptisms and burials; and copies of monumental and gravestone inscriptions as at 1885, with plans of the graveyard (HC/29-30)

Notes etc. on Upper Chapel and its early members and on the origin of non-conformity in Sheffield (LC195)

Monumental inscriptions (for various chapels including Upper Chapel) compiled 1895 (JC1051)

Sheffield, Upperthorpe Chapel (later Unity Church, Crookesmoor Road), Unitarian Church, 1858 - 1988 (NR2319)

Sheffield, Attercliffe Unitarian Church, Shirland Lane, Attercliffe (formerly Attercliffe Unitarian Mission), 1902 - 1970 (NR1343)

Related Material at Sheffield Local Studies Library:

Various printed publications relating to Upper Chapel are available (see the Local Studies Library catalogue for details)
CustodialHistoryThese records were deposited with Sheffield Archives by the Church in various instalments in Feb 1984, May 1987, Sep 1994 and Feb 2008
AcquisitionSourceThese records were deposited with Sheffield Archives by the Church in various instalments in Feb 1984, May 1987, Sep 1994 and Feb 2008
ArchNoteCatalogue prepared by Tim Knebel (between Aug 2015 - Dec 2016).
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