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Silkby Chapel remains, Butt Lees

A Scheduled Monument in Silk Willoughby, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.974 / 52°58'26"N

Longitude: -0.4336 / 0°26'0"W

OS Eastings: 505280.739671

OS Northings: 342993.730599

OS Grid: TF052429

Mapcode National: GBR FQY.K6D

Mapcode Global: WHGKD.9HRY

Entry Name: Silkby Chapel remains, Butt Lees

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1973

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018901

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22753

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Silk Willoughby

Built-Up Area: Silk Willoughby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Silk Willoughby St Denys

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains and associated archaeological
deposits of Silkby Chapel, a stone chapel constructed in the medieval period
in association with the former hamlet of Silkby, which lay to the west. The
building went out of ecclesiastical use in the post-medieval period when the
settlement was depopulated, and was converted into an agricultural building;
it was finally dismantled in the 19th century.

The remains of the chapel are situated approximately 430m west of St Denys'
Church on the north side of School Lane. In the south west part of the
monument is a raised building platform over 8m square, standing about 0.5m
above the level of the surrounding field and sloping gradually away to the
north and east. Fragments of building material, including limestone rubble
and tile, are visible in the topsoil and in the hedge bank which runs along
the north side of the lane. Aerial photographs suggest that the chapel lay
within an enclosure extending nearly 50m northwards from the lane, formerly
bounded on the north by a field of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation and
on the east by an area of open ground extending towards the Folk Moot, part of
a Bronze Age barrow cemetery which formerly separated the settlements of
Silkby and Willoughby.

Documentary sources indicate that the chapel was a rectangular building of
stone construction with pointed windows. Building remains suggest that in the
medieval period the roof was tiled, although in the early 19th century,
immediately before it was dismantled, it is known to have been thatched. The
chapel is represented on Speed's map of 1610. The manor of Silkby formerly
lay adjacent to the west of the chapel enclosure, while the remainder of the
hamlet extended beyond it. Following the depopulation of Silkby the area of
the settlement was included with that of Willoughby, which was centred upon
St Denys' Church to the east, and together they became known as Silk

The Bronze Age barrows to the west known as Folk Moot and Butt Mound are the
subject of separate schedulings.

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.

The remains of the medieval chapel of Silkby survive in the form of buried
archaeological deposits. After going out of ecclesiastical use in the
post-medieval period the building survived in agricultural use, with the
result that its remains have not been overlain by later structures and
archaeological layers will therefore survive largely intact. The buried
remains of the chapel building and the enclosure in which it stood will
preserve valuable evidence for religious and social activity in a small
community in both the medieval and post-medieval periods.

Source: Historic England

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