(Disclaimer: Joking aside, I fully understand the risks/dangers involved in these adventures and do so in the full knowledge of what could happen. I don't encourage or condone and I accept no responsibility for anyone else following in my footsteps. Under UK law, trespass without force is a civil offence. I never break into a place, I never photograph a place that is currently occupied, as this would be morally wrong and intrusive, I never take any items and I never cause any damage, as such no criminal offences have been committed in the making of this blog. I will not disclose location or means of entry. I leave the building as I find it and only enter to take photographs for my own pleasure and to document the building.
Following our visit to the stone circle, Tamsin and I went off into the wilderness to find this cute little chapel lost and forgotten in some woods. The building itself is pretty cool, albeit in some state of disrepair, but there's also a very peaceful atmosphere around the entire area. I couldn't help but think that this was a bloody weird place for a chapel though. I can't imagine the local villagers traipsing through woodland to hear about how God loved them and how they'd dodge eternal damnation if they loved him back.
Victorian maps seemed to reflect the lack of easy accessibility, by referring to the chapel as "Disused." How long had it been disused for?
It turned out that even though it was built like a chapel, and it even has "chapel" in its name, it was never actually consecrated, and therefore never an official place of worship. Ironically according to the bible, this means that Jesus probably would have liked it more than all other chapels and churches. See, Jesus hated churches. Jesus said that you should pray alone at home, and that the people who go to church only do so because they want to be seen to be going to church.
A bit like all that clapping for the NHS hoohah we had during lockdown. A nice gesture in a time of woe, until it became a dick measuring contest and a witch hunt for anyone who was on the toilet or something at 8pm on a Thursday. But that's a rant for another day!
So allegedly this chapel was really only used as a little picnic spot on a wealthy estate. And to be honest, it's a nice place for it.
There's a couple of cupboards on either side. This one still has shelves in it, and rather curiously, a wreath. The other cupboard was empty. I'm not sure what purpose they would have served.
The chapel was built in 1753 on the request of an Earl called Harry who was super keen on making his 750 acres of land all fancy. Some sources refer to Earl Harry as Henry, so I did a quick Google to clarify it, and it turned out that the name "Harry" actually originates as an informal use for "Henry" back in medieval times. A bit like Bill can be short for William or Dick can be used for Piers Morgan. I always thought Harry was short for Harrison but apparently this isn't always the case.
Old maps do show the surrounding land decorated with amazing
gardens and fishing lakes, but the estate seems to have decreased in
size since then, leaving things like this chapel forgotten. There's probably more hints of the estates former glory lost in the woods.
It was Earl Harry's father, also called Harry, who first moved into the prominent estate on which this chapel was built. He inherited the land from a distant cousin, but I'm not sure how distant because this particular family tree is quite the rabbit hole. The lineage can be traced back to a Norman chevalier who fought alongside William during the Battle of Hastings, and his direct male lineage contains no less than eighteen peerages, including eleven Baronies, a Viscount, four Earldoms, two Dukes, and a couple of Marquis. The female lineage was a little harder to trace because they all changed their names when they got married, but they all married other Barons, Dukes, and whatnot. And I'm happy to say that there is a mild flimsy relation to the Harlechs of Brogyntyn too, and therefore the folks of the Cyclops Cavern. But that link is in the 1530s, so it's fair to assume they won't be invited to any family gatherings any time soon.
I assume this is one of the old doors to the exterior cupboards. It's quite cool that it's still here. Evidently it's been broken off at some point over the years and someone moved it inside to preserve it.
Check it out. This place is cute. Sadly it's stripped of all its seating and any interior decor. I assume it had some once, presumably in an attempt to make a replica chapel, because if it was always this empty then it wouldn't have been named a chapel, even though it's not actually a chapel.
I do wonder if any internal shots exist that show it fully furnished back before it was derelict. So far I've not found any.
Earl Harrys numerous progeny all grew up in the big hall on the estate, and probably all hung out at this chapel at some point. With each generation of Earldom, the gardens were improved on. They were also open to the public, so it's fair to assume that this spot once had quite a lot of guests. In 1855 the estates gardens were estimated to be recieving about 6000 visitors a week. They remained open up until 1895, when some vandalism resulted in their closure to the public. Damn those pesky kids...
Earl Harry's Great-Great Grandson George had inherited the estate and the Earl title, but he died in 1883 without managing to procreate, and the Earl title was inherited by a distant cousin in Africa. I'm not sure when the chapel fell out of use as an eccentric garden feature, but what I do know is that Georges death resulted in the estate shrinking somewhat as his assets were divided among three different family lines, the hall eventually falling into the ownership of his second wifes neice, Katherine, and eventually to her granddaughter Eileen, who lived there until 1999.
I think the main hall is still in the family, but the chapel doesn't appear to be. The halls immediate surrounding land is all still fantastically maintained, but this chapel is rotting away. Old Victorian maps seem to indicate that there's quite a few things dotted around the surrounding woodland, so much like I do with Brogyntyn, I'll probably be making a few return visits when the weather is less annoying.
Here is where the altar would have been, if there ever was one.
Despite being empty, the walls of the chapel had some excellent wall scrawlings.
It's faint, but "Andy" here has excellent calligraphy.
The wall has fallen away in some places, but here it's just possible to make out a signiature dated 1966.
This signiature has been erased. Someone didn't want everyone to know who had been here or when, for some reason. But it was in the 20th Century, at the start of a decade.
Someone has written their name in pencil, dated 1964.
And there's this cute pencil drawing of a gnome too. I'm not sure why, but it does remind me of the famous Georgian-era hermits, which the garden gnomes are derived from. Back in the day, rich folk used to actually pay raggedy old men to live in little huts on their estates, often given bizarre contractural obligations such as never trimming their facial hair or cutting their fingernails. It sounds very bizarre, but it actually happened! Cute innocent ornamental garden gnomes derive from using scruffy poor people as a garden ornament in some odd fascination in the contrast between the rich and the poor.
It's a longshot, but given that this chapel is essentially a folly, another form of eccentric garden featture, perhaps whoever drew it is making a reference to that.
For us, as much as I loved this place, it was time to go.
One last curiosity could be found in the nearby field though...
Look closely, and you'll notice that there's a baby deer mingling with the sheep. They wouldn't let us get anywhere near them, but the deer was inseparable from the flock. I think the mother might be dead, and the young one has sought protection by joining the sheep. It's quite adorable. But we all know where the sheep will end up, so it's quite sad too.
That's all I've got from this awesome little place. Next time I'll be checking out an old asylum on my other blog, and then I'm blogging about a cool little ROC bunker. Until then, don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook.