History

A Brief History of Unitarianism in Cirencester

For many years Unitarians in Cirencester met in their own chapel in Gosditch Street (now the Parish Centre). Regular services in the Gosditch Street chapel ceased in 1969 and today Cirencester Unitarians meet, as the Cirencester Unitarian Fellowship, in the Friends’ Meeting House in Thomas Street Cirencester.

Cirencester Unitarian Chapel

Cirencester’s Old Unitarian Chapel

The former Unitarian Chapel, approached by an arch from Gosditch Street, is the oldest chapel in the town, having been erected as a Presbyterian chapel in 1648, during Mr. Gregory’s second term of ministry as Vicar of Cirencester. Subsequently to his ejection from his living by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, Mr. Gregory is said to have ministered in it until forced to leave the town by the Five Mile Act.

Like many of the successors of 17th century English Presbyterianism, the faith of the Presbyterians of Cirencester gradually evolved into Unitarianism, and since the early 19th century the chapel has been Unitarian.

The houses immediately adjacent were formerly the property of the chapel. The graveyard has long been disused. A list of inscriptions is given in the little History of Cirencester published by the late Mr. Savory.

The building is now owned by the Church of England and used as their Parish Centre.

 

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