Friday, 25 November 2016

The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth

The Unitarian Chapel of Toxteth is one of Liverpool's oldest surviving buildings; built in 1618 for the local Puritan Community, Richard Mather being listed as the first Minister, Mather later emigrating to New England in the American Colonies in 1635. Mather had been appointed the first Master of the school that had been built in 1611 by Puritan farmers, and he seems to have displayed leadership qualities and intellect, becoming a celebrated Puritan Minister and Teacher in colonial Boston, Massachusetts until his death in 1669. His son Increase Mather was also a Puritan Minister in New England and was somewhat politically active, becoming involved in the Salem Witch trials. His son Cotton Mather, gave unwavering support for the trials, a stance that attracted criticism, and though a prolific author, Cotton Mather didn't have the political career his father had.

The chapel in Toxteth became a central place of worship for the Unitarians during the later eighteenth century, and many famous Liverpool Unitarians were associated with the chapel, and are buried in the grave yard, such as the Rawdon family, the Rathbones, the Holts and the Melly family. The chapel is a historical gem and for anyone interested in Liverpool history, it's well worth a visit.

A memorial for Jeremiah Horrox (Horrocks) who predicted the transit of Venus in 1639.

A grave stone commemorating a member of the Holt family.

A grave stone commemorating a member of the Rathbone family.

Graves commemorating the Holt family.

The mixed coloured local sandstone used in the building of the chapel.

All photos taken with permission by Dr David Harrison.

© Dr David Harrison 2016.

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