Wednesday, November 22, 2017

News: Chapel site up for sale


The site of former Masbrough Chapel in Rotherham, a site which has links to some of the borough's eminent industrialists, has been put up for sale.

Agents at Lambert Smith Hampton have begun advertising the 0.240 hectare site on the edge of Rotherham town centre and the freehold has a guide price of £175,000.

The site once contained the Masbrough Independent Chapel but the building was demolished after suffering a number of fires.

Established 1760, the former listed building was dated 1777 and a Victorian extension was added as the congregation grew. It was built besides the family house, Masbrough Hall, when the Walker family split from other Methodists in the town.

Industrialist brothers Samuel, Aaron and Jonathon Walker founded the Walkers' iron and steel businesses in Rotherham in 1746 which flourished until the end of the Napoleonic war, having become one of the largest works in Europe.

A water-powered forge at Masbrough was joined in 1757 by a large foundry erected nearby at Holmes, in which they made almost all kinds of castings, including large quantities of cannon. By 1782 one Walker business alone was worth over £100,000, around £8m at today's prices.


The foundry supplied most of the iron cannon used by the Government up to 1815, as well as the material for several iron bridges. About 80 of the 105 guns aboard HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar were cast by the Walker Company. In 1819 they cast the iron for London's Southwark Bridge but by 1821 the firm ceased operations and parts of the business moved to Tipton in the Black Country. Successor firms played an important role in Rotherham industry in the nineteenth century.

The Waklers built a Mausoleum alongside the Chapel in 1776, to commemorate members of the family buried in the Chapel cemetery.

The listed mausoleum remains, conservation works developed with support from the Friends of the Walker Mausoleum were set to take place in 2006 following a legal battle to access the site.


The Walker Mausoleum is not part of the sale and it is believed that the ownership of the mausoleum lies with the surviving heir(s) of the Walker family.

The freehold title contains a restrictive covenant on development of part of the south east area of the site. Rothbiz understands that it would mean that no gravestones or remains are to be moved or built on.

The burial ground holds the graves of many of the towns most influential industrialists such as the Oxleys, Beatsons, Clarks and Habershons.

The Trustees sold the Chapel in 1991 and it was subsequently used as a carpet warehouse. 2008 plans to use the ground floor as a meeting place/social venue were never progressed.

The main chapel building was severely damaged by fire in March 2012 with a subsequent fire in December 2012 (pictured). After the second fire the building was judged to be structurally unsound and demolished as an emergency measure.

In 2014, the owner of the site, Haroon Rashid, was served with a legal notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requiring him to ensure the site is clean, attractive and safe.

In 1968 the Chapel Trustees and the former County Borough Council entered into an agreement that gave the council responsibility for the management and control of the burial ground and mausoleum.

LSH website

Images: Google Maps


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