Tentative Site: Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements

UK Tentative List

Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements

The Moravian Church dates from 1457. In 1722 the Moravians renewed the Church and established a Settlement at Herrnhut in Germany from where they travelled around the world often founding new Settlements wherever they went.  

The village of Gracehill, was founded as a Moravian Settlement in 1759. It has a rich history and has won many awards including the Europa Nostra Award. Life in the village nowadays is, of course, very different to the 18th century, but the layout of the buildings and the unique Georgian style of architecture remain very much the same. The village plan is a simple grid pattern with designated green spaces. It is an early example of town planning reflecting the timeless values of education, equality, industry, tolerance, and spirituality that the Moravians shared wherever they established Settlements. 

The Moravian Church remains central to the village, facing the Square and flanked by the Manse and the Warden’s House. The Brothers and Sisters Walks on either side meet behind the church at the burial ground or “God’s Acre”. In the 18th century the village was highly structured. The Moravian values called for a community-based way of life; 250 years ago there was a village doctor, access to education and many houses had fresh running water.

Since 2002 the Gracehill community has worked with other similar Moravian Settlements around the world to develop a joint bid for a World Heritage Site submission to UNESCO. More recently, building on the successful inscription of the Moravian Settlement of Christiansfeld in Denmark as a World Heritage Site (2015), a transnational nomination entitled “Moravian Church Settlements” is being prepared to include Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (USA), Herrnhut (Germany) and Gracehill. This is being led by the United States Government. Early in 2022, Gracehill was accepted onto the United Kingdom’s list of potential World Heritage Sites (Tentative List) and, as a result, Bethlehem, Herrnhut and Gracehill, supported by the already designated Settlement of Christiansfeld, will go forward to UNESCO as a single international bid, entitled “Moravian Church Settlements”, in 2024.

Official website

Did you know..?

The earliest letter to be sent to Europe bearing an official US stamp was sent from New York to Gracehill in 1847.

Gracehill was the first designated Conservation Area in Northern Ireland. 

Gracehill is the only complete Moravian Settlement in Ireland.


Location: Gracehill

Country: Northern Ireland United Kingdom

Year of Inscription:

UNESCO Criteria: iii, iv

Contact information:

For more information about Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements, visit the website