Ancient Monuments

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Medieval chapel of St Thomas Becket 45m east of the church, Priory Road in Bodmin

A Scheduled Monument in Bodmin, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4713 / 50°28'16"N

Longitude: -4.7161 / 4°42'57"W

OS Eastings: 207361.470371

OS Northings: 67024.384475

OS Grid: SX073670

Mapcode National: GBR N3.MLFP

Mapcode Global: FRA 170T.2JF

Entry Name: Medieval chapel of St Thomas Becket 45m east of the church, Priory Road in Bodmin

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1950

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002937

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 326

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Bodmin

Built-Up Area: Bodmin

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Bodmin

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval chantry chapel, situated on the north eastern side of Bodmin, between the church and the Vicarage. The chapel survives as a rectangular, roofless building of granite with freestone dressings. It stands to eaves height and measuring 13.7m long by 5.5m wide internally with a vaulted crypt and a porch at the south west end. The crypt runs for the entire length of the chapel and measures 12.2m long by 4.2m wide and is spanned by a segmental vault relieved by four arches with its entrance beneath the porch. The porch has a segmental-arched doorway to the front and a similar inner doorway with steps to the left-hand side. The south wall has two pointed-arched windows with hoodmoulds and four small crypt windows with flat heads and relieving arches. To the north are two pointed-arched windows, similar to those to the south. The east wall has a large, three-light late Decorated window with unusual tracery which is transitional towards Perpendicular. Internally there is a sedilia with cinquefoil arches within pointed hoodmoulds, all under a square hoodmould, with a ogee-headed cinquefoil aumbry to left.

The chantry chapel was licensed and built in 1377 and Dissolved at the Reformation. It served as a grammar school from 1566 to 1853. The crypt beneath the chapel was used as a charnel house.
The chapel is Listed Grade II* (368042).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431314

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. The sites of abandoned chapels are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment. The medieval chapel of St Thomas Becket 45m east of the church, Priory Road in Bodmin is well-preserved and retains many of its original and highly decorative architectural features including the sedilia, piscina and traceried window, and the vaulted crypt. These are particularly fine examples, and of a type and date which are extremely rare in Cornwall. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, religious and social significance, periods of re-use, funerary and religious practices, abandonment and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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