Dover Unitarian Church Listed Building at Sunrise, Adrian Street, Kent, UK

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John Latter on August 31, 2011

An early morning view of the octagonal Georgian (1) Unitarian Church on Adrian Street seen from the A256 York Street central reservation at 6.53 am on Monday, 29th of August, 2011 (2).

The A256 dual carraigeway runs between York Street roundabout (night view) to the left, and the Folkestone Road roundabout (fronted on the east by the Dovorian Restaurant and the Golden Lion pub) to the right. Ye Olde Bicycle in the bottom right-hand corner is mine!

Behind the church on the left are part of the Western Heights hills (below the Drop Redoubt and above Cowgate Cemetery).


The Dover Unitarian Church website states:

The Unitarian & Free Christian Church in Dover has been Unitarian since 1828. Freedom of belief and the form of worship was unanimously agreed by the membership in 1916 and this liberal tradition is upheld today.

We meet as a group of friends seeking truth, freedom and tolerance in rational worship and fellowship on the first and third Sunday of every month at 3pm.

The Church was founded in 1643 by a dissenting group who refused to subscribe to unreasonable beliefs. They were persecuted and some were imprisoned in Dover Castle. In the early 1800’s these ‘General Baptists’ became Unitarian ( asserting the Oneness of God). They questioned belief in a Trinity and considered the religion of Jesus (Love God and your neighbour) more important than a religion about Jesus. They rejected Original Sin, the Virgin Birth, and the condemnation of non-believers.

The first Sunday school in the town of Dover opened at this church in 1803. The present Chapel, built in 1820, is a grade II Listed building and participates each year in Heritage Open Days.

Abridged excerpts from The Unitarian Heritage (3):

Dover Unitarian Church, Adrian Street. Kent. 1819. One of the oldest General Baptist foundations (1643); Captain Taverner of Oliver Cromwell's Roundhead army was a founder-member. Second chapel built 1745, enlarged 1793. Recent chapel built to house large following of Benjamin Martin, disciple of Universalist Williarn Vidler.

Yellow brick, octagonal. Two matching venetian windows on opposite sides wlth pediments over; slate roof, formerly with bellcote. Plain arched wlndows of good proportions. Interior: original plain box-pews; pulpit moved to one side when semi-circular organ chamber added late 19th century. Rear curving gallery supported on four iron pillars. Architect Thomas Read. Meeting hall of 1971, built as compensation for road encroachment (Unitarian Church Hall). Small garden.

The Great War

A Dover Memorial marble tablet was unveiled by the Reverend C. A. Ginever (an ex-Minister of the Unitarian Church) on the 3rd of April, 1920, following a service led by the Reverend John Yeoman (an ex-Chaplain to the Forces). The service commemorated four members of the church's congregation who had died of wounds received during the First World War (4) (5).

The inscription reads (5):

In Proud and Loving Memory of

Albert Edward Amos, RGA. Fell in action at Bray, Somme, 13 October 1916, age 22

Arthur Robert Igglesden. Fell in Action Vimy Ridge, France, 10 April 1917, age 25

John William Blatchford, MGC. Fell in action St Quentin, France, 22 September 1918, age 25

Owen Chitty, 3rd City of London Yeomanry. Invalided from the army and died from heart disease 24 August 1919, aged 43

The above members of this congregation volunteered for service 1914-1918 and died for their country

Greater service can no man render

A Kent Fallen ( document states (4):

AMOS, ALBERT EDWARD. Gunner, 52863. 25th Siege Battery. Royal Garrison Artillery. Died at Bray-sur-Somme, France on 14 October 1916. Aged 22. Born Peckham, Surrey. Enlisted Dover, Kent. Resided River, Dover, Kent. Buried Grove Town Cemetery. Meaulte, Somme, France. Grave Ref: I. L. 45.

IGGLESDEN, ARTHUR ROBERT. Lance Corporal, 435252. 50th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment). Died at Vimy Ridge, Neuville-St-Vaast, Pas de Calais, France, 10 April 1917. Aged 26. Born Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 13 November 1891. Enlisted Calgary, Alberta, Canada 31 May 1915. Son of Robert W. Igglesden, and Mary E. Igglesden of “The Beacon,” Chilton Avenue, Kearsney, Dover, Kent. Buried Canadian Cemetery No 2, Vimy Ridge, Neuville-St-Vaast, Pas de Calais, France. Grave Ref: 2. C. 21.

BLATCHFORD, JOHN WILLIAM. Private, 56192. 74th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Died 22 September 1918. Aged 25. Enlisted Herne Bay, Kent. Son of James and Ann Eliza Blatchford of 7, Maison Dieu Place, High Street, Dover, Kent. Buried Ronssoy Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. Grave Ref: B. 11. Formerly Trooper, 2170, Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles.

The above are commemorated on the Dover Civic War Memorial.

CHITTY, OWEN. 3/1st City of London Yeomanry. Died 24 August 1919. Aged 43. Owen was invalided out of the army and died from heart disease. He is regrettably not commemorated on Dover, Kent civic war memorial. Of even more concern it would appear that he was not commemorated by the then Imperial War Graves Commission, despite dying well before 31 August 1921, it being the official cut-off date for Great War related deaths.

The source used further states:

As Owens' regimental details are not strictly correct it seemed prudent to point out same should family members or other interest parties view his commemoration here." (more at source)

The Dover Unitarian Church is a Grade II Listed Building group (6).

The following extracts are © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (PSI licence number C2010002016):

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List Entry Number: 1343832



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Dover

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Dover

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 17th of December, 1973

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 177719

Asset Groupings

This List entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List Entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


ADRIAN STREET 1. 1050 Unitarian Church and Vestry adjoining TR 3141 2/29


  1. Dated 1819. Architect Thomas Read. An irregular octagon in shape. 2 storeys yellow brick with 4 brick pilasters, Slate roof and wide bracket cornice. The front elevation has a pediment set in brick arcading with a round window in its tympanum, 1 large Venetian window under tile pediment and the other windows are round-headed sashes. Single round-headed doorcase approached up a flight of steps having a cast iron handrail. Adjoining to the north side is a building of 2 storeys and 1 window which contains the Vestry.

Listing NGR: TR3189241281

Selected Sources

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

National Grid Reference: TR 31892 41281

Unitarianism (7)

Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being.

For most of its history, Unitarianism has been known for the rejection of several orthodox Protestant doctrines besides the Trinity, including the soteriological doctrines of original sin and predestination, and, in more recent times, biblical inerrancy. In J. Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions it is classified among "the 'liberal' family of churches".

The first Unitarians, although not called Unitarians initially, were found in Poland and Transylvania from the 1540s onwards, though many of them were Italians. In England the first Unitarian Church was established in 1774 on Essex Street, London, where today's British Unitarian headquarters are still located (Essex Hall). The first official acceptance of the Unitarian faith on the part of a congregation in America was by King's Chapel in Boston, from where James Freeman began teaching Unitarian doctrine in 1784, and was appointed rector and revised the Prayer Book according to Unitarian doctrines in 1786.


(1) From the wikipedia entry for Georgian architecture:

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover - George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom - who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830.

(2) The photo was taken on my early morning cycle ride: two laps of Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard.

Behind the Unitarian Church, Chapel Place once lead to Queen Street where the rocking horse and armchair photos of John Latter (me!) were taken.

(3) The Unitarian Heritage: An Architectural Survey (1986)

(4) Dover, the Unitarian Church

(5) The Unitarian Church, Adrian Street, War Memorial

(6) Source: English Heritage. Designation: Grade II: buildings that are "nationally important and of special interest". Click to see photos of all Dover English Heritage sites.

(7) Wikipedia entry for Unitarianism

This is a Dover Church and Dover Listed Building history photo.

An Urban Dover photo.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 30, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/29 06:53:59
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 26.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash