The Stourbridge congregation originated in c. 1695 when Rev. George Flower came as chaplain to Thomas Foley, ironmaster of Prestwood in South Staffordshire, who supported nonconformist preaching in a private chapel on his estate.
Our first congregation, known generally as either Protestant Dissenters or Non-Conformists, were already holding services secretly around 1695 in the town. These services were held in an upstairs room, known then as “The Chapel Room”, in the house of Thomas’s brother, Robert Foley, in High Street Stourbridge.
A meeting house built in Stourbridge in 1698, behind what is now Nickolls & Perks in Coventry Street, was damaged by rioters in 1715, but was repaired and remained in use until the building of this present chapel on this site in 1787-8. The former building was used by Independents from 1791-1810; it still stood, as a warehouse in 1886. A small orthodox secession in 1788 left the new building firmly in non-subscribing hands.
The chapel was designed by Thomas Johnson of Worcester and was built by Blackburn & Burchell of Studley, Warwickshire at a cost of £1,205.
Stourbridge Presbyterian Chapel (Unitarian) is a Grade 2 listed chapel. The Interior has changed very little since the date it was built, and still has the original wooden box pews and minstrel gallery to rear. The wall panelling is from the original church of 1698, and it is believed that the pulpit is also from this chapel. There is seating capacity for about 300 people.
It has a very fine three manual organ by Nicholson and Lord of Walsall, installed in 1913 and donated by Thomas Grosvenor – Lee. This organ replaced one built by Walker of London in 1865, and housed in the much enlarged Chancel added in 1863.
Come along as see one of the historical gems of Stourbridge!
For a detailed history of the chapel, download the PDF here.