The stained glass at Flagg Chapel

Flagg Chapel has had a fairly chequered history. Its foundation stone was laid in July 1838 and the opening service took place in July 1839. Situated in a rather remote spot in Derbyshire, it has closed or been near to closure on a number of occasions.

The stained-glass window is in memory of Charles Wollen, a lay preacher from Sheffield who had largely been responsible, for many years, for keeping the services going. He died on 11 April 1898. An inscription below the images reads To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Charles Wollen who died April 11th 1898 aged 82 years. Erected by his friends as a tribute to his transparent goodness, and as a mark of their appreciation of his self-denying labours during many years for the congregation worshipping in this chapel.

The window portrays Jesus with the woman at the well (John, Chapter 4).

In 1927 its Unitarian trustees were planning to sell it when Annie Beard Woodhouse decided that it might be revived as a sort of 'youth chapel' and meeting place for young people.

Mrs Woodhouse was a granddaughter of John Relly Beard, founder of Unitarian College, Manchester. Her father, James Rait Beard, became president of the Manchester District Association and she and he went driving around to visit buildings in their area. Flagg was in their itinerary and they found it in a run-down state. Mrs Beard decided to buy a property nearby, the Green, which whe could use as a weekend cottage, partly as a personal retreat to escape the smog of central Manchester and also to support a cause which was in need of encouragement.

She gave the property to FOY, the Fellowship of Youth, because of the tumbled down barn on the drive which some of the then young people thought would make a good FOY project.

The last Unitarian congregation ceased to meet in 1963 and the chapel was then used by Anglicans. The recent re-introduction of occasional Unitarian services dates from 1989, which as it happens was the 150th anniversary of the opening of the building.

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