Unitarian Chapel Allostock

Unitarian Chapel Allostock

In 1689 and after The Act of Toleration gave Nonconformists freedom of worship. The Allostock memorandum was signed by 182 people. In 1737 William Turner was appointed as the first Unitarian Minister. The Chapel's appearance was similar to Mrs Gaskell's Chapel at Brook Street in Knutsford as it is today. There was a flight of stone steps and a gallery on the south, east and west sides of the Chapel.

Iln 1822 the Chapel was "renovated" and the galleries removed. Joseph Ashton, already minister at Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford, was appointed to Allostock. Thereafter, both chapels were served by the same minister.

In 1847 moves started to make the school secular. The freehold of Allostock Chapel and a piece of ground for a schoolhouse were purchased from Sir Chas. Shakerley Bart. The school house was built during the forgoing summer. The garden was laid out and the repairs of the Chapel and alterations both for the Chapel and school room were finished. Friends, chiefly of Knutsford, bore the nearly 1400 expense.

In 1822 the trustees regained possession of the Chapel from John Glover (a shoe maker from Widow’s Home Farm). Glover created some controversy as he was never recognised as a minister and refused to hand over the keys, although many attempts were made to remove him! He kept what is now known as “Glover’s Register” from 1787 to 1822. A curious entry states “Buried the Dutchman”.

The grave yard, a part of the school’s grounds, was described in a 1962 newspaper articles as “Tomb Stone Corner” because of the frequent accidents caused when vehicles driving too fast crashed through the wooden railings and damaged the gravestones. Fortunately no children were hurt but any standing gravestones had all been flattened by 1963 when at last a barrier was erected.

By 1983 there were 15 gravestones dating from 1788 to 1942 with 27 legible names. Caroline Johnston’s was one of the last burials. She was headmistress for 40 years having retired in 1925.

Legible names in 1983 included: Hockenhull, Minshall, Buckley, Gallimore, Walker, Baskerville, Tickle, Johnston (Julia Wilson has more information).

Burials under the Chapel floor as recorded in “An Ancient Chapel” by Rev. George A. Payne include:-

Robert Holland, Pastor of Congregation at Allostock Died Dec 30th 1705

Rev. Samuel Garside who died 9th May 1716. Buried underneath the floor boards near the front entrance door and his wife Mary Garside who died 6th June 1718.

There is anecdotal evidence that these burials were disturbed when the Chapel was renovated in 1822.

Many thanks to Julia Wilson who provided much of the History section, and acknowledgements to the late Charles Bentley who resourced some of the local history and to Gordon Nisbett for much of the information on the history of Allostock School and the WI and others for local memories.