Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

St Catherine's Chapel, field system and quarries at Chapel Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Abbotsbury, Dorset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6601 / 50°39'36"N

Longitude: -2.6051 / 2°36'18"W

OS Eastings: 357328.025612

OS Northings: 84668.964539

OS Grid: SY573846

Mapcode National: GBR PT.74GZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 57FB.8YJ

Entry Name: St Catherine's Chapel, field system and quarries at Chapel Hill

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1958

Last Amended: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015694

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29045

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Abbotsbury

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Abbotsbury St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes St Catherine's Chapel, a broadly contemporary field
system on Chapel Hill, and a group of quarries south and east of Chapel Hill,
all situated on the south Dorset Downs to the south west of the village of
Abbotsbury.
Chapel Hill is situated to the west of St Peter's Abbey and lay beyond the
Abbey precinct. During the late-14th century, St Catherine's Chapel was
constructed on the crest of the hill. The Chapel was commissioned by either
Abbot Henry de Thorpe or Abbot William Cerne. It is built of local stone with
heavily buttressed walls, a stone barrel-vaulted ceiling. A roof of Clipsham
stone slabs was fitted in 1983 to replace the original stone slabs. Access to
the ground floor was via two porched doorways. An external stair turret
situated on the north western corner provided entry to the first floor. The
hilltop situation of the chapel typifies the cult of St Catherine, who was
widely venerated during the Middle Ages. The chapel was dissolved in 1539 and
no longer used for regular ecclesiastical services. However, the structure
continued to be maintained and formed a well known local landmark which was
also visible from the coast. Roof repairs were conducted during the 18th and
19th centuries and the roof was replaced during the 1980s.
The field system on Chapel Hill includes a group of strip lynchets or long
parallel terraces. These were produced by levelling strips of the natural
slope in order to produce an area suitable for agricultural use. The lynchets
include terraces 5.5m to 11m wide, which run parallel with the natural slope.
The field system is broadly contemporary with St Catherine's Chapel, St
Peter's Abbey and the medieval village at Abbotsbury.
The quarries situated to the south of Chapel Hill are visible as a complex of
depressions, variable in form, with dimensions of 5m to 10m across and up to
c.0.5m to 1m in depth. A larger quarry is located on the east side of the
hill. It seems likely that these quarries were worked to produce stone used in
the abbey's construction. Situated within the quarry group is a World War II
pillbox. This is strategically placed on a south-facing terrace
on the lower slope of Chapel Hill, overlooking Chesil Beach. The pillbox forms
part of a chain of similar features constructed along Chesil Bank and the
ridge to the north.
Excluded from the scheduling are all gates and fence posts relating to the
modern field boundaries, the Clipsham stone slabs, the railings around St
Catherine's Chapel and the dry-stone wall around Chapel Coppice, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

St Catherine's Chapel, the field system on Chapel Hill and the quarries
survive well as components of the wider landscape of St Peter's Abbey. The
Chapel, which is particularly well preserved, typifies the cult of St
Catherine. The surrounding field system includes a group of well preserved
strip lynchets which form part of the original medieval open fields around
Abbotsbury, providing an indication of the nature of the agriculture
associated with the Abbey and its adjacent medieval settlement. The group of
quarries to the south and east represent the most probable source of stone for
the Abbey buildings and will contain evidence of the nature of stone
extraction and working. Together with St Peter's Abbey, and fishponds in the
east, much of the landscape associated with the Abbey survives. This is fairly
unusual in a national context. A World War II pillbox situated close to the
quarries is well preserved and formed part of a discrete chain of
fortifications situated along and behind Chesil Beach.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 11
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 3
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 11
Hutchins, J, A History of Dorset, (1863), 721-2
Other
Clipsham roof stone tiles, Listing Details: West Dorset District,
Mention class of structure, CBA, Second World War Fortifications,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.