A chapelry was a subdivision of an ecclesiastical parish in England, and parts of Lowland Scotland up to the mid 19th century.[1]

Look up chapelry in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

It had a similar status to a township but was so named as it had a chapel which acted as a subsidiary place of worship to the main parish church.[2] Such chapelries were common in northern England where the parishes had been established in medieval times when the area was sparsely populated, thus obliging parishioners to travel long distances to the parish church.

A chapelry also had a role in civil government, being a subdivision of a parish which was used as a basis for the Poor Law until the establishment of Poor Law Unions in the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared that all areas that levied a separate rate should become civil parishes and this led to the conversion of chapelries into parishes.


  1. Status details for Chapelry. Vision of Britain through time. URL accessed 24 February 2008.
  2. Status details for Township. Vision of Britain through time. URL accessed 24 February 2008.
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