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Todmorden Unitarian Church
New and exclusive to Shadows of the Night!
Stay and camp out up until 12pm Sunday!

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Friday 29th May 2015
10pm to 2.30am (Stay and camp out until 12pm Sunday)
 £40pp (£20 deposit)
 Buffet and hot drinks

About this location

The church was built between 1864 and 1869 at the behest of the three Fielden brothers, sons of 'Honest John' Fielden, the reformist mill-owner and Radical MP who steered the Ten Hours Act through Parliament in 1847. Fielden senior was of Quaker stock, but turned to Methodism and was then persuaded to follow Joseph Cooke's breakaway brand of Methodist Unitarianism, eventually becoming closely involved with the sect's Todmorden chapel and giving generous help to the local Unitarian community. But after his death in 1849, continuing growth of that community made the chapel steadily less adequate, and in 1864 his sons, by now very wealthy from the textile business he had fostered, decided to provide a replacement building, partly in honour of their father's memory. 

Their plans went well beyond a mere enlarged meeting house, and despite traditional Unitarian mistrust of show and ritual, the brothers commisioned a building of considerable splendour, with the original chapel eventually becoming a Sunday school.

Modelled on 14th-century 'decorated Gothic' but built to an Anglican pattern, and of size more suggestive of a small cathedral than a nonconformist chapel (it comfortably seats over 500), the church was designed by John Gibson, who had been a member of Charles Barry's team at the Houses of Parliament. He had already worked for the Fieldens and was responsible for Dobroyd Castle, built concurrently with the church as a home for the middle brother John. The two buildings were so positioned that each could be viewed from the other across the intervening valley, while the church's grandeur complemented by its imposing setting on a hill overlooking the town, with a winding drive leading up to the building from what might otherwise easily be mistaken for a manorial gatehouse. Gibson's next big projects in Todmorden were to be the quasi-Gothic Fielden School and the neo-classical Town Hall, finished in 1872 and 1875.

On the church's opening day in April 1869 a congregation of 800 assembled to hear the inaugural sermon , delivered by the noted Manchester Unitarian William Gaskell, widower of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. Perhaps aware of local unease at the buildin's Gothic implications, Gaskell devoted part of his address to arguing that despite Puritan inclinations to the contrary, there is nothing wrong in employing art to enhance religion provided this involves no compromise of inner sincerity. This endorsement of their bold venture was no doubt very welcome to the Fieldens, and whatever early heart-searchings there may have been regarding the shift in style, the new church soon became much loved and remained a thriving centre of the faith until well into the 20th century. This sometimes irritated local Anglicans, especially in the early days when the church's radical minister Lindsay Taplin was inclined to be very outspoken in favour of Unitarianism's liberal, non-trinitarian, humanistic outlook

At the start, the building and its grounds were the property of the Fielden family, but in 1882 an endowment fund was established to give the church a degree of independence. Yet as the years slipped by there was an increasing shortage of funds to maintain the building, and despite a great burst of activity in the centenary year of 1969, it was finally closed in 1987, with meetings then held in the lodge until 1992. Vandalism and decay set in, but despite its Grade I listed status, various schemes suggested for the church's preservation came to nothing. However, with its acquisition by the Historic Chapels Trust in 1994, a proper programme of repairs and renovation has been put in hand, and while this proceeds a locally elected management committee opens the building from time to time to stimulate interest and facilitate study by school parties, historical and architectural groups.

The Event

You will be very much a part of the team on this event, taking part in some intense vigils, and being able to use the teams paranormal or ghost hunting equipment. The event will start promptly at the time specified on the events page, and we ask that all attendees be at the venue at least 30 minutes prior to the event start time.
A tour of the event location will be undertaken before ALL the lights are turned off, there will be set refreshment breaks when drinks and snacks will be provided for you… if anyone has any special dietary requirements please telephone 0781 555 2495 to arrange suitable dietary alternatives.


Don't be fooled by this Gothic style church,  It's location is steeped in loads of English history, so it's safe to say from it's many reports and sightings of paranoramal phenomina, that there's something going on here! Reports that include 'a sense of errieness' and a 'feeling of being watched' people will tell you there's a spirit that resides here and it's making it's pressence strongly known. It's no wonder that the Shadows of the Night gang want to investigate here! With dark shadows, footsteps being heard and yet you turn and there's no one there!  We are the first team to investigate this amazingly awesome location. So for the first time ever, do you dare to join us spend a night here or even camp out? 


Health and Safety

Please be aware that persons considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs with be refused admission and asked to leave the event with no refunds being given (please see Terms and Conditions).

A good pair of shoes and warm clothing are advised on our events as some venues/locations can be very cold.


Todmorden Unitarian Church, Honey Hole Road, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 6LE.

Todmorden Unitarian Church, Honey Hole Road, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 6LE.

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