Rotherham is very fortunate to have not only one significant, historical religious building but two.
The Chapel of Our Lady on the Bridge was founded in 1483, the cost of which is attributed to Thomas Rotherham.
The chapel survived for 64 years until The Act of Dissolution in 1547 came into being and closed it down. The Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham took over care of the building and converted it into an Almshouse around 1569.
In 1779 the Almshouse was converted into a dwelling for the Deputy Constable and a jail and in 1888 it became a tobacconist and newsagents.
In 1901 a petition, signed by nearly 1,000 Rotherham inhabitants, was presented to the FEOFFEES requesting (begging) them to undertake restorations and restore it to a place of worship.
In 1913 Sir Charles Stoddart bought the tobacconist business, closed the shop and offered to restore the building. Unfortunately, Sir Charles died before the repairs were done but in his will he bequeathed a sum of £500 ‘to be invested and the income applied in or towards maintaining the services in the Chapel on the Bridge which I have recently repaired’.
The courts ordered that, providing the Vicar and Churchwardens would repair the Chapel within 12 months of the termination of the Great War, that this legacy would be handed over to them to be invested and applied as directed by the Will.
This work was completed, and the chapel re-consecrated, in 1924.
The Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham handed back the building to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners 16th December 1916, to hold in trust on the agreement that it must be used for ‘Divine Worship at least once per week’.
The Friends of Rotherham Chapel on the Bridge was formed in October 2014 with the aim of promoting the chapel by sharing its history with visitors, making it more accessible to the wider public and fundraising to preserve the building.