Box pews in Chowbent ChapelAn active Unitarian place of worship in Atherton, Greater Manchester that was built in 1721.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Box pews are a type of church seating for the laiety in the naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety., aisle or gallery of a church or chapel, enclosed by high panelled sides with a hinged door. They were installed in churches and chapels in England and other Protestant countries from the 16th to the early 19th century.[1][2]

From the late 18th century, pew-rent was paid for the exclusive use of a particular box pew, providing a source of income for churches and chapels.[3]



IDBC. (n.d.). Box Pew. Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches.
OED. (2020). Pew rent. In Oxford English and Spanish Dictionary (online). Lexico.
Pevsner, N., Pollard, R., & Sharples, J. (2006). Buildings of England: Liverpool and the southwest. Yale University Press.