Ancient Monuments

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St Botolph's Chapel, 280m north east of Frosterley Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Stanhope, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.7281 / 54°43'40"N

Longitude: -1.9624 / 1°57'44"W

OS Eastings: 402521.721574

OS Northings: 537007.660122

OS Grid: NZ025370

Mapcode National: GBR GFQR.YX

Mapcode Global: WHB3L.TFQ7

Entry Name: St Botolph's Chapel, 280m north east of Frosterley Bridge

Scheduled Date: 14 November 1986

Last Amended: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016466

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28600

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Stanhope

Built-Up Area: Frosterley

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Frosterley

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes the remains of a chapel of medieval date, situated in
the village of Frosterley on a flat site overlooking steep slopes to the
south. The chapel is visible as the earthwork remains of an oval mound
orientated east to west measuring 30m by 22m, surmounted by a rectangular
structure 18m by 7.5m. It stands to a maximum height of 1.4m at the western
end where it is best preserved. The place name Frosterley is first mentioned
in the Bolden Book in AD 1183 and specific mention of a chapel at Frosterley
is first mentioned in a document of AD 1346. It is thought that the chapel may
have originated many centuries earlier and the discovery of a copper alloy
strap end of ninth century date during house construction to the north of the
chapel testifies to early activity in the vicinity. The chapel is believed to
have been dedicated to St Botolph, the seventh century Anglo-Saxon saint
considered to have been one of the pioneers of Benedictine rule in England.
As late as 1522, the chapel was still in use, but by the late 18th century it
was described as `disused' and `gone to decay'. The eastern end of the chapel
was partially excavated in 1995 in advance of house construction to its north
and east. The excavations uncovered the east end of a rectangular stone
building standing to a maximum height of two courses. The remains of painted
wall plaster survive in situ at the base of the walls. The excavation also
uncovered evidence of stone robbing and several phases of demolition. Pottery
of 18th and 19th century date was recovered from post-demolition deposits.
Pieces of pottery ranging in date from the 11th to the 14th centuries was
recovered from areas excavated to the south and west of the chapel and the
remains of a possible wall were also found.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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. 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.

St Botolph's chapel at Frosterley survives well and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is of particular importance as it is the most
northerly church dedicated to St Botolph and is a rare example of its type. It
will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the
establishment and spread of the Christian Church in England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Adams, M, St. Botolph's Chapel, Frosterley: Trial Excavations, (1995)
NZ03NW 15,

Source: Historic England

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