Todmorden Unitarian Church

Todmorden, West Yorkshire | Listed Grade I

History and Architecture

Todmorden Unitarian Church opened in 1869 as the memorial to John Fielden (1784–1849), a wealthy philanthropist, cotton manufacturer and Member of Parliament. Fielden was a leader in campaigns for the Great Reform Act of 1832 and once it was passed he became one of two Radical MPs for Oldham - a constituecy that was previously unrepresented in Parliament. Fielden was largely responsible for the 1847 'Ten Hours Act', a landmark in the reform of industrial working conditions.The cost of the church was borne by Fielden's three sons. The architect was John Gibson (1817–92) who also designed Dobroyd Castle and Todmorden Town Hall.

Christopher Stell, a national authority on Nonconformist architecture wrote "... this bears comparison with some of the best buildings of the Established Church; as representing the Nonconformist architecture of its period, it is unrivalled".

Further Information

A free 2-page guide is available here.

A more detailed guide, written by John Crabbe, is available from HCT office and in Todmorden.

Repair and Regeneration

HCT completed a £1 million repair programme, thanks to generous grants from Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of private individuals. Works included:

  • repairs to roofs and stained glass and the derelict lodge
  • restoration of the historic landscape
  • new heating system, WCs and small kitchen.
  • In 2014, thanks to a generous legacy from a former bell-ringer the ring of bells was restored.

HCT has acquired the design drawings (cartoons) for the stained glass by Jean-Baptist Capronnier (1814-1891).

Future Use

The church may be hired for events and concerts. 

Weddings

The Church is proving popular for weddings and is registered for Unitarian religious marriages and for same-sex marriages.

Supporting Todmorden Unitarian Church

This church is without an endowment and is very costly to maintain and repair when the need arises.  If you would like to contribute to its upkeep or leave a bequest in your will to support the church please contact us in confidence.

A regular working party of volunteers undertakes landscape maintenance works in the gardens and grounds from 1pm until 4pm on the first Sunday of each month. There is another working party on the third Sunday of the month from 10.00am to 12.00 noon.  Further volunteers are most welcome.