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Heritage Open Day - Elder Yard Unitarian Chapel

Type:Heritage Open Day

Elder Way
S40 1UR
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Tel07980 458941

Elder Yard Unitarian Chapel


Visit the oldest nonconformist meeting house still used in Derbyshire and see how 320 years of history have moulded this Grade II listed building. Elder Yard Chapel is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Chesterfield, built in 1694.

The congregation was founded by Rev John Billingsley, ejected vicar of Chesterfield Parish Church as a result of the 1662 Act of Uniformity. Initially the congregation secretly met in private houses or fields.

The passing of the 1689 Act of Toleration enabled Cornelius Clarke (High Sherriff of Derbyshire in 1670) to purchase 'a parcel of land near Ellar Yard' to build a meeting place for dissenting protestants for religious worship.

Initially the building was used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists, however in 1772, the Congregationalists built the Blue Meeting House in Froggats Yard, New Square (which, sadly, no longer exists). The remaining congregation gradually became Unitarian under the parsonage of Rev. Thomas Astley.

During your visit you will be able to look around the building, its grounds and graveyard with the aid of a free information leaflet or member of the congregation. Copies of the detailed history of the building will be available to purchase (£5.00).
There will be displays on local examples of 'People Power', a scale model of the building to explore and a quiz for children to complete during their visit.

On Saturday 14th 11.45-12.30 there will be a song recital performed by two local female singers.
On Saturday 21st 10.00-12.00 there will be a charity coffee morning in aid of Send a Child to Hucklow - a local charity providing holidays for local children in need.

Guide Prices

Every September some 40,000 volunteers across England organise 5,000 events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture. It's your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are FREE to explore.
Booking not required



  • Disabled access - Partial wheelchair access


  • Children welcome - Activities for children


  • Parking with charge

Property Facilities

  • Public toilets

Opening Times

Sorry, this event has passed

Map & Directions

Road Directions

The Chapel is in Chesterfield town centre and there are many nearby car parks. The directions below are to the nearest car park.

From North/South Leave M1 at junction 29 and follow A617 to Chesterfield (approx 4 miles). At roundabout select middle lane and take 3rd exit. At next roundabout select right lane and take 2nd exit (Lordsmill Street). Keep to right hand lane and go straight on through traffic lights and round back of 'Crooked Spire' Church. Select right hand lane and go straight on at 1st and 2nd set of traffic lights, approaching large roundabout with car park in middle. Keep to right hand lane and turn right into car park (Holywell Cross).

From East Follow A617 to junction with M1 motorway, then follow route from North/South.

From West Follow A619 to Chesterfield. At traffic light controlled roundabout (Matalan) select middle lane and take 3rd exit. At traffic lights select left lane and go straight on. Keep in left lane and, at roundabout take first exit (Lordsmill Street). Move to right hand lane then follow route from North/South.


Public Transport Directions

Nearest train station Chesterfield, 10 minute walk away

Any bus to Chesterfield town centre

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