The Project Director is Dr. Kate Tiller of Kellogg College Oxford

The aim was to develop a cross-disciplinary research network based on collaboration between academic investigators and non-academic partners. The project will encompass historical, sociological and architectural approaches to the changing role of religious dissent in local communities in England and Wales between 1850 and 1939. It will centre on shared sources and questions, enabling informed local researchers to record and analyse Nonconformist buildings, history and culture in their location.

The project theme reflected the fact that by 1850 'Chapel' was a widespread and significant feature of local and national life. In the following period it became increasingly important, touching not only the religious but also the social, educational, political and cultural aspects of people's public and private lives. The presence of Nonconformity gave a distinctive character to many communities. To be 'chapel' was an important source of choice and identity for individuals, families and groups.

The research agenda drew on themes and debates amongst historians and sociologists of religion and in local studies. Project material for researchers will include an introduction to this literature, a research guide and case studies.

This project had 2 phases:

Phase One required recording, or recovering a record, of the local Nonconformist buildings including chapels, schools, Sunday schools, meeting rooms, institutes and ministers’ houses and making an initial assessment of the Nonconformist culture of which they were part. It was intended that this profiling would reveal the extent of the surviving local building and documentary record.

Phase Two involved choosing an option for further research. This involved in-depth use of chapel records, record linkage methods and analysis to address the research agenda described above. mber. Janet will also be happy to answer any of your queries about the project

It is hoped that FACHRS will be producing a book from the completed research.

February 2021