THE earliest indication of Chelsea as a parish or
the existence of a church is in 1157, when as the church
of 'Chelcheia' it was among those confirmed to the
abbey by Pope Adrian IV. (fn. 1) All indications suggest that
the medieval parish with its small population was rather
poor, and even in the mid 16th century had no lavish
plate or rich furnishings. (fn. 2) There is little evidence of religious controversies in the 16th or 17th centuries, and the
advent of other religious groups, such as the Huguenots
in the late 17th century or Roman Catholics in the late
18th, seems to have caused little difficulty.
In 1838 Chelsea was reckoned to have 14 places of
worship, 7 of them Anglican and one Roman Catholic;
the protestant nonconformists' 6 chapels provided
3,160 places, compared with the Roman Catholics' 600
and the Church of England's 7,350. (fn. 3) In 1851 there were
estimated to be 28 places of worship in the parish, of
which 12 were Anglican, one was Roman Catholic, and
the remainder protestant nonconformist. (fn. 4) In 1998 in
addition to 6 Anglican churches Chelsea had 14
non-Anglican certified places of worship, of which three
were Roman Catholic, one was Muslim, and one Jewish.
The Church of Scotland and the Moravians still
worshipped in the parish together with 6 protestant
nonconformist sects. (fn. 5)
||BL, Cott. Faust. A. iii, f. 165.
||Rest of para. based on sections of Rel. Hist. below.
London City Mission Mag. III. 125.
Religious Census, 1851.
||List supplied by ONS (Birkdale). Nos are for Chelsea part