History

Cairo Street Chapel is the second oldest surviving place of worship in Warrington. It was founded by dissenters and nonconformists who were seeking tolerance and liberty for themselves and others.

The Reverend Robert Yates founded the chapel when he was ejected from the Church of England in 1662 for failing to conform to the Book of Common Prayer, he ultimately obtained a licence for public worship.

Until the passing of the Unitarian Relief Act in 1813 it was a criminal offence to be a Unitarian and many Unitarians were persecuted for their faith. In 1863 the chapel was extensively repaired and updated, the interior would have looked much as it does today.

We adopted the Flaming Chalice symbol during the Second World War and it is now the accepted symbol of our liberal faith. The symbol is a reminder of the religious reformer Jan Hus who was burned at the stake in 1415 for the 'heresy' of offering the chalice of Holy Communion to the laity as well as the clergy.

Prominent Ministers and Lay Preachers of the Chapel have included the founder Rev Robert Yates (1662-1678), Rev John Seddon, founder of Warrington Academy (1747-1770), Rev William Enfield (1770-1785) and Rev Pearsall Carpenter (1819-1877). Other Unitarians associated with Cairo Street Chapel include Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), Anna Letitia Barbauld (nee Aitken) (1743-1825) and Rev William Gaskell, Minister (1805-1884).

We were the first denomination in England to accept women as Ministers in 1904.

The chapel is still used for Christenings, Weddings, Funerals and Morning Prayer on Sundays. You are more than welcome to take a look around the chapel whenever the gates are open. You never know, maybe you will bump into our resident ghost who is said to haunt the chapel gates.