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Medieval chapel at Erth Barton

A Scheduled Monument in Saltash, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3845 / 50°23'4"N

Longitude: -4.2781 / 4°16'41"W

OS Eastings: 238136.800927

OS Northings: 56326.127085

OS Grid: SX381563

Mapcode National: GBR NP.T4YC

Mapcode Global: FRA 18X0.YZY

Entry Name: Medieval chapel at Erth Barton

Scheduled Date: 23 October 1959

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003048

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 452

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Saltash

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Stephen-by-Saltash

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval chapel adjoining the south eastern corner of the manor house at Erth Barton and situated on a prominent estuarine promontory called Erth Hill, overlooking the St Germans or Lynher River. The chapel survives as a two storied rectangular building measuring approximately 9m long by 4.5m wide. It is set into a slope with an external staircase and a C19 slate roof which was restored in 1965.

Originally dating to the late 13th century, the chapel is at first floor level and has a traceried three-light east window and single-light lateral windows. A small blocked window in the south wall is a later insertion. The original doorway has been widened and is accessed via external stone stairs. Internally there is a piscina and traces of medieval wall paintings, the larger showing parts of two figures and some drapery which are probably of 14th -15th century date.

The lower floor has original blocked windows to the east and west which were formally pointed, pigeon holes, two later doorways and a cobbled floor. It was used as a cider house and still contains a granite mill and wooden press. The socket stone of a standing cross has been incorporated into the base of one corner of the building.

The chapel is also known as 'Earth Barton Chapel', and the only known medieval document relating to it dates to 1413.

The chapel is Listed Grade II (60428).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436603

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. Chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship. Private chapels were built as places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Despite having been re-used as a barn, the medieval chapel at Erth Barton survives well and retains many original and rare features including traces of the medieval wall paintings, piscina and traceried window. It is a demonstration of the role of religion in a Manorial setting, indicative of feudalism and is therefore of considerable social significance. The cider making apparatus and re-use as a barn also indicates the significance of agriculture and the changing practices through time.

Source: Historic England

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