Ancient Monuments

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Keld Chapel

A Scheduled Monument in Shap, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5239 / 54°31'26"N

Longitude: -2.691 / 2°41'27"W

OS Eastings: 355372.510527

OS Northings: 514511.574618

OS Grid: NY553145

Mapcode National: GBR 9JN4.62

Mapcode Global: WH81Y.MKS7

Entry Name: Keld Chapel

Scheduled Date: 29 July 1946

Last Amended: 6 December 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020669

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34988

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Shap

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Shap with Swindale St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Keld Chapel and its associated churchyard and
surrounding wall. It is located at the north east end of Keld hamlet
between Keld Lane and the access track to Thornship. The date of
construction of Keld Chapel is unknown; it may have been a medieval
chantry chapel of the nearby Shap Premonstratensian Abbey or it may have
been a simple chapel of ease with no connection to the abbey. The first
documentary evidence referring to Keld Chapel records a christening here
in 1672. Towards the end of the 17th century the chapel ceased to be used
for religious purposes and was converted into a house. In 1897 the
building was repaired and during the 20th century it was passed to
the National Trust.

Keld Chapel is constructed of limestone rubble with a slate roof. The
oldest masonry is thought to be the 16th century north east window which
has three elliptical-headed lights with a reset moulded label of earlier
date. In the north west wall are two square-headed windows, the eastern of
two lights the western of one light, together with a doorway with
chamfered jambs and a modern head. In the south east wall are two windows
similar to those in the north west wall; further south is a blocked window
thought to be of 18th century date. Internally there is a cross wall with
a fireplace and chimney stack inserted at the time the chapel was
convereted into a house. A recess has been set into this cross wall
immediately south of the fireplace. A small triangular area, thought to be
the churchyard, lies on the chapel's north east side surrounded by a
drystone wall. The chapel is a Listed Building Grade II.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These include all
internal fixtures and fittings including pews, benches, altar table, a
chair, a wooden chest and the National Trust plaques on the wall and door
and the donation box set into the wall, although the door and wall behind
the plaques and surrounding the box are included.

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.

Despite some internal modifications associated with the monument's
conversion to a domestic dwelling, Keld Chapel survives well and remains a
good example of a late medieval/early post-medieval small rural chapel.

Source: Historic England


Paper held by Nat Trust, Grasmere, Hawkins, H, Keld Chapel - Was it a Chantry?,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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