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Chapel of St Blaise

A Scheduled Monument in West Malling, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2833 / 51°16'59"N

Longitude: 0.3809 / 0°22'51"E

OS Eastings: 566140.51214

OS Northings: 156485.356956

OS Grid: TQ661564

Mapcode National: GBR NPJ.F4X

Mapcode Global: VHJMB.K07K

Entry Name: Chapel of St Blaise

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005488

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 205

County: Kent

Civil Parish: West Malling

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Offham St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Summary

The Chapel of St Blaise, 494m south-east of Blaise Farm House.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 20 August 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval chapel surviving as upstanding ruins and below-ground remains. It is situated on gently sloping ground between Grey Leybourne Wood and St Leonard’s Wood, south of Offham.

The building is L-shaped in plan and comprises two rectangular chambers set at right angles to each other and joined at their north-west and south-east corners. It is constructed of ragstone rubble with walls averaging about 0.6m wide and up to about 1.3m high. The largest chamber is orientated broadly NNW to SSE. It is about 11m long by 4.8m wide. Attached at the south-east corner is the smaller chamber, orientated broadly ENE by WSW. It is about 8m long by 3.8m wide.

The exact origins of the Chapel of St Blaise are uncertain. It is recorded in the possessions and income of the Hospital of St Mary of Strood in 1534. Richard I had given ‘two parts of the wood’ near Malling, previously belonging the manor of Aylesford, to the hospital on 20th April 1194. It is uncertain if this land included the chapel at that time. Cartographic evidence shows that the chapel was surrounded by ancient woodland up until the first half of the 20th century. The remains are marked on Kent OS Maps (1:2500) of 1908 and 1946. A survey of the site was apparently carried out by the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group in 1975-6 but the results of this survey are not known. Medieval roof tiles have been recorded as surface finds.

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. 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. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, 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 Chapel of St Blaise survives well with its original ground plan intact. The site is relatively undisturbed and retains potential for archaeological investigation. It will contain archaeological information relating to the construction, use and history of the chapel.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Websites
'Hospitals: Strood', A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1926), 228-229 , accessed from http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38243
Other
Kent HER TQ65NE1. NMR TQ65NE1. PastScape 412462,

Source: Historic England

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