The Beefsteak chapel hardly sounds like a place where vegetarians would be welcome, but more than 200 years ago, this tiny chapel in Salford was the British birthplace of the meat-free diet. In an even greater twist, the cleric who preached the moral virtues of vegetarianism was the Reverend William Cowherd. His Beefsteak Chapel was the country's first vegetarian church.
Reverend William Cowherd was a Christian minister serving a congregation in the City of Salford, immediately west of Manchester, and one of the philosophical forerunners of the Vegetarian Society founded in 1847. Cowherd advocated and encouraged members of his then small group of followers, known as 'Cowherdites' to abstain from the eating of meat as a form of temperance.