Ancient Monuments

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Rycote Chapel

A Scheduled Monument in Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7366 / 51°44'11"N

Longitude: -1.0355 / 1°2'7"W

OS Eastings: 466698.180806

OS Northings: 204651.653864

OS Grid: SP666046

Mapcode National: GBR B0Y.30F

Mapcode Global: VHDVF.0MF2

Entry Name: Rycote Chapel

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018823

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28161

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Great Haseley

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Great Haseley

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a 15th century chantry known as Rycote Chapel which is
situated close to Rycote House in Rycote Park.
The chantry, which was consecrated in 1449, was founded by Richard and Sybil
Quatremayne of Rycote and was dedicated to St Michael. It is built of coursed,
squared limestone rubble with ashlar dressings obtained from the Taynton
quarries. The chapel includes a chancel, a nave and west tower. The nave and
chancel were built as a single structure of five bays delineated by stepped
buttresses. At the eastern end is a four centre arched window with five lights
and panel tracery. The side windows are all two light, with shallow arches of
triangular form with labels. At the west end of the north side is a fine four
centre arched doorway with moulded square surround and recessed spandrels with
quatrefoils, and there is a corresponding but plainer doorway on the south
The tower is built in three stages with a crenellated top. It has a door in
the west side with a pointed moulded arch above which is a three light
triangular headed window and a canopied niche. The belfry has two light
openings with triangular heads.
The roof (which was partly repaired in the 1960s) is of a continuous wagon
style and was originally painted.
The bench pews and the base of the chancel screen are contemporary with the
building. The western gallery, the pulpit and two elaborate canopied pews,
including a supported musicians' gallery are dated to c.1610. The internal
wooden fixtures and fittings are included in the scheduling.
The elaborate baroque reredos is dated to 1682 and has four fluted Corinthian
columns and a segmented pediment. There are also barleytwist communion rails
of a similar date and later alterations include a marble bust of 1767
commemorating James Bertie, Earl of Abingdon.
To the north stands Rycote House on the probable site of the original manor
house and adjacent to the house of Sir John Heron, treasurer to Henry VIII,
which was built after 1521. This was altered after 1539 by Sir John Williams,
later Baron Williams of Thame and played host to both Elizabeth I and Charles
I. There are surviving drawings of the house in c.1695 and in 1714 prior to it
burning down in 1745. The only remains to survive the subsequent demolition
and the building of the present house are a section of wall and one tower,
both Listed Grade II*. The medieval village of Rycote Magna is believed to
have been located close to the church although its exact location within the
estate remains a matter of conjecture. The remains of Rycote House, the tower
and wall, the medieval village and the churchyard are not included in the
Ryecote Chapel is in the care of the Secretary of State and is a Grade I
Listed Building.

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

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.

Rycote Chapel is an exceptional example of this class of monument. It retains
its original wooden features including the bench pews and the rood screen
base. In addition it contains a number of early wall paintings and good
quality later additions, notably the musicians' gallery of 1610. The chapel is
open to the public and as such forms an important educational amenity.

Source: Historic England


OXFORD ARCH. REPORT, Mudd, A, Chapel of St. Michael Rycote, (1995)
PRN 2420, C.A.O., Rycote Chapel, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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