Fonds SO 197 - Norfolk Nonconformist Chapel Survey undertaken by the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group

Identity area

Reference code

SO 197


Norfolk Nonconformist Chapel Survey undertaken by the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group


  • 1988-1992 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

761 pieces

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Name of creator


Administrative history

Formerly the Norfolk Archaeological Rescue Group.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 12-13, 19 and 26 May and 2 and 10 June 1999 and 13 September 2005. (ACC 1999/22-23, 32, 34, 39, 42 and ACC 2005/175). Listed on 3 November 1999 and 21 September 2005. (TT/IM).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

In 1988 the Norfolk Archaeological Rescue Group decided to undertake a county-wide survey of all buildings then known to have been used for nonconformist worship (including that of the Roman Catholic and unorthodox, Christian denominations). This was in response to concern over the increasing incidence of neglect and rate of demolition or unsympathetic conversion of such buildings. Buildings surveyed included those erected or adapted for worship (either then in use, not then used but still standing or those demolished) and also those not adapted for worship but were once or were then still used for that purpose.

Surveyors were to make a visual appraisal of the buildings and to take a photograph of both the exterior and, where possible, the interior, and were also enjoined to record any documentary or oral evidence where available. Pro-forma sheets were supplied to surveyors on which they were to identify themselves, the location of each building visited, and when it was surveyed. They were to record details of the date of foundation and/or erection of the chapel and its predecessors, its denomination, its current use and, where known, the current owner. A short description of the exterior with rough sketchplans of the site and building should also be included. Occasionally, some chapels were surveyed more than once by different surveyors, leading to two sets of survey sheets being completed and kept. This seems to have been merely accidental.

The survey sheets were deposited in files arranged alphabetically, although occasionally inconsistently, by the place or hamlet name. Photographs are appended to most of the sheets though some appear to have become detached from the sheets and are now missing. The negatives of these photographs have been retained by the depositor. Occasionally, detailed plans of chapel interiors are also appended as are printed historical leaflets or guide-booklets and, in one or two instances, photocopies of original manuscript sources held locally.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

In the list the denomination listed first was the last or current one with any predecessor denomination listed afterwards in brackets. The exceptions are Methodist chapels, where, in cases where the chapel predates the unification of the three main Methodist branches in 1932, the then current (i.e., prior to unification) Methodist denomination is first given.

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Publication note

Tom Williamson's analysis of the survey results in 'The Norfolk Nonconformist Chapel Survey: Some Preliminary Results' in 'Religious Dissent in East Anglia', ed. by Norma Virgoe and Tom Williamson (UEA, 1993).
A distillation of the results of the survey was published in 'Halls of Zion: Chapels and meeting-houses in Norfolk' by Janet Ede, Norma Virgoe and Tom Williamson (UEA, 1994).

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