Blue Idol Quaker Meeting House, West Sussex, view from west showing timber-framed soulth range and weather-boarded west-facing gable above later brick bay.
Blue Idol Quaker Meeting House, West Sussex © Historic England Patricia Payne, DP160409
Blue Idol Quaker Meeting House, West Sussex © Historic England Patricia Payne, DP160409

Nonconformist Heritage

This page explains the projects we are involved in on Nonconformist Places of Worship.

Taking stock of Nonconformist faith buildings

Some buildings of the Nonconformist faith groups face severe difficulties in some areas. This can be because of reduced congregation size and thus reduced local support, leading to potential closure of buildings. In other areas expanding use may lead to a wish for development and increased community engagement.

Historically, there was a growth in the number of faith groups and associated chapels, especially in the 19th century. In the 20th century, these groups tended to unify and consolidate so that there was a surplus of buildings.

We intend to carry out a process of ‘Taking Stock’ of what exists in certain areas, or within certain faith groups. 

The first of these is a partnership with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Quaker Meeting Houses Heritage Project

The Religious Society of Friends in partnership with Historic England have commissioned a survey considering how to ensure their buildings meet the Quaker ideals of simplicity, good environmental stewardship, community service, the needs of today’s society, and unencumbered access for all those who use the Meeting Houses.

You can view reports on the significance of the Meeting Houses covered in the project online via the Archaeology Data Service. More information will be added to as the project progresses.

Heritage of Chapels

Setting the stories of individual faith groups within a broader social and architectural narrative is an essential complement to other projects. Historic England has published a book on the Chapels of England by Christopher Wakeling.