The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth – Liverpool, England - Atlas Obscura
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Liverpool, England

The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth

17th century puritan church with connections to the Salem Witch Trials. 

In 1618 the local Puritan community erected the Toxteth Unitarian Chapel on the corner of today’s Park Road and Dingle Lane. Since the 1830s it has been known as The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth.

The chapel’s first minister was a man by the name of Richard Mather who eventually emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in North America. Mather’s son Increase Mather and grandson Cotton Mather later became known for their involvement in the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s.

Prior to becoming a minister, Richard Mather was a school master and one of his pupils was Toxteth born astronomer and poet Jeremiah Horrox (sometimes spelt Horrocks). Jeremiah went on to predict, and to be one of only two people to observe, the transit of Venus across the sun’s surface on the 24th of November 1639. Horrox’s body was laid to rest in the chapel in 1641; he died in his native Toxteth having returned to the area only one year previously. A plaque dedicated to his memory hangs on the chapel wall, each of its four corners decorated with a five pointed star.

Local legend has it that Oliver Cromwell’s troops camped in the Chapel’s graveyard when they came to Liverpool during the Civil War.

Know Before You Go

On the corner of Park Road and Dingle Lane.

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