From Dissenters to Fire Engines


Maria Staal

York has many churches. Most of them are very visible in the streetscape and we walk past them every day. The old medieval churches are well known and quite a few of them are open to the visitor. But there is a whole series of churches and chapels in York that are not so well known.

These chapels were built over the last 200 years, at a time when being a member of a church didn’t automatically meant the Church of England. These Dissenters used new, modern, building styles to erect their chapels, which made them blend into the streetscape, making them almost invisible. Over the years many of these chapels have stopped being places of worship and now have a secular use, or were demolished.

From Dissenters to Fire Engines brings these chapels back to life. Looking, not only, at the history of each chapel in turn, but also at the story of Nonconformism in York. It reveals the surprising, and sometimes moving, stories of each of the chapels that for many people were, and still are, places of worship that they cherished.


Review by Cliff Wilton

From Dissenters to Fire Engines tells the story of Nonconformist Christianity in York and includes photographs, description and history of every Nonconformist church and chapel in our city, past and present. Just as attractively produced as Maria’s earlier book Romans, Vikings, Churches and Chocolate, it intriguingly includes the city’s Roman Catholic churches as post-Reformation Dissenters from the Church of England.

The book begins with a short history of English religious dissent and a guide to church architecture, followed by major chapters for each denomination. Each chapter opens with an account of the denomination’s story before describing the various places of worship in York. The 25 individual churches and chapel described in the book are given their own double-page spread, with photo’s old and new.

I warmly and enthusiastically recommend this book – and hopefully it comes out just in time for Christmas stockings!


Buying This Title

This title is available as paperback  and can be ordered from Dales Court Press. (Clicking this link will open a new window.)

About This Title

  • ISBN: 978-0-9557344-1-0
  • Size: 15 by 21 cm
  • Format: Paperback, Full Colour
  • Publication Date: 12 September 2008

Other titles
Check out the other books in our collection on our non-fiction and fiction pages.