The Parsonage Street Chapel, Macclesfield
Late in 1806, the itinerant American evangelist, Lorenzo Dow, came to Macclesfield and preached the dedicatory sermon of a new Chapel, belonging to the Free Gospellers, or Revivalists. Initially this group seems to have seceded to the Methodist New Connexion. However, the purchase deed of the Parsonage Street site declared their intention “to build a chapel for themselves and other persons of the Independent Interest dissenting from the established Church of England upon the old Methodistical principles and called the Christian Revivalists.”
The second Annual Meeting of the Independent Methodists was held there in 1807, and Hugh Bourne attended the third Annual Meeting also held there in 1808. Within a few years, however, the Macclesfield revivalists rejected free gospelism and yielded to the attractions of a settled paid ministry. In 1814, the chapel was offered to and accepted by the Methodist New Connexion Conference, sitting in Hanley, to which John Beresford, one of the trustees, was a delegate.
In 1836, the Methodist New Connexion moved to a new, grander chapel in Park Street and in 1858 the old chapel was acquired by seceders from the Unitarian King Street chapel. When, in 1888, the congregation re-joined the King Street chapel, it was decided that the Parsonage Street Chapel should remain as a school. The chapel was sold in 1904 and subsequently was used first as a billiard hall and then as a factory. Following the long period in commercial use, it is now chapel again, being the Elim Christian Life Centre.
With grateful thanks to John Anderson for this contribution to our Chapel of the Month series.