Underbank Chapel-126

Underbank is a Unitarian Chapel set is glorious surroundings overlooking the Loxley Valley near Sheffield. It was founded in 1652 and the current building was constructed in 1743. The present minister is Rev June Pettitt.

THE Underbank Congregation has its origins in the 17th Century, with land and property left by one Richard Spoone for the maintenance of a "preaching minister" in 1652, during the period of the Commonwealth. A barn was converted for the purpose of religious worship, and functioned as a "Chapel-of-ease" (i.e. of accessibility ) to Bradfield Parish Church. The form of appointment of the minister appears to have been more in the Presbyterian tradition than the Episcopalian, however, and by 1700 the congregation seems to have been Dissenting. The final and definite break with the established church came with the building of the new Chapel, the present building, on a site adjoining the original converted barn, in 1742-3.

During the 18th Century, not without controversy, the congregation came to adopt a Unitarian stance, affirming the unity of God and the humanity of Jesus in contrast to orthodox Trinitarian belief, which was held to be unscriptural. They did not impose an alternative Unitarian orthodoxy, however, but continued in the radical dissenting tradition of individual liberty in matters of faith. Architecturally the Chapel is widely regarded as being a distinctive and interesting example of its type as a "Dissenters' Meeting House of the 18th Century.

It features on the front cover of The Unitarian Heritage (1986), the first major architectural survey of places of worship in the Unitarian tradition in the British Isles.

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Unitarianism is a religious movement which has evolved in the Christian tradition and originated in the Reformation of the 16th Century. It now recognises and upholds the right of each individual to seek and to find truth and meaning according to the evidence of his or her own experience.

Whilst affirming our Christian heritage, we recognise that wisdom may be found in the other spiritual traditions of humankind. We believe that religion must have contemporary relevance, and that it must be honest. To this end Unitarianism offers freedom of conscience and does not require its members to subscribe to set creeds, dogmas or articles of belief.