Registering buildings for worship

Under the provision of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, a place of meeting for religious worship may, if the congregation wish, be so certified to the Registrar General. The certification is arranged by applying to the Superintendent Registrar in the district where the building is situated. This excludes churches or chapels of the Church of England, unless it shares a church building with another religious denomination.

The person who acts as 'minister', 'proprietor' or 'Trustee' at the place of worship has to:

  • Complete in duplicate, two copies of 'form 76'. Including a sketch of the floor plan identifying which rooms will be used for worship and an average weekly timetable of how the building will be used.
  • Send the completed form and additional documents along with a cheque or postal order made payable to Trafford Council covering the statutory fee of £28 to:

Register Office
Trafford Council
Sale Town Hall
Sale Waterside
M33 7ZF

Where can I obtain a form?

Forms are available for collection at the Trafford Register Office or can be sent to you by contacting the office on 0161 912 3026.

Place of marriage

If the church officials decide they wish the place of worship to become a place where marriages can take place, they need to complete form 78 in duplicate (certificate and application for the registration of a place of religious worship for the solemnization of marriages under sec. 41 of the marriage act 1949).

This should be dealt with if possible together with the original application for a place of worship. However, it can be requested after the date of certification of the building as a place of worship.

Form 78 requires signatures of 20 separate householders who say that the building is their usual place of worship and that they desire it to be registered for the solemnization for marriages. A statutory fee of £120 is payable by cheque or postal order made payable to Trafford Council.

Once the information is received at the Register Office, the information is sent to the General Register Office (GRO) for authorisation. Once the GRO certify a building for worship and marriage, the Superintendent Registrar is required to advertise the new place of worship in the local newspaper and the London Gazette. The applicant is then sent a certificate confirming the certification and registration for marriages.

If the place of worship has wholly ceased to be used by the congregation on whose behalf it was certified, the present occupier should give notice of disuse to the Superintendent Registrar by completing form 77, which is available free of charge from the Register Office.

If the building is taken over by a completely new congregation they should re-certify the building by applying for forms 76 and 78 as outlined above.

Any change in description, or change of address of the building should be notified to the Superintendent Registrar. He will also be able to advise about whether re-certification is necessary if the certified place of religious worship is rebuilt.