Brief notes about Oxhey Chapel

Redundant Churches Fund

Architecture and Contents

Outside

The copper covered roof within a parapet, and the hexagonal bell cote date from the 1963 restoration. The main walls are constructed of alternate squares of brick and knapped flint.

There is no churchyard because the Chapel has never been a parish church, but at the west end there is a paved enclosure, surrounded by a wall with railings above, in which are two graves.

Inside

The west doorway has its original 17th century Baroque surround with lavishly carved Corinthian pilasters and a rich entablature.

The walls of the Chapel are plastered and the main architectural feature is the roof with its moulded tie beams.

The seating for the Chapel is provided by double rows of stalls arranged in collegiate fashion. These dates from the 1897 conversion although carved in an early 17th century fashion. All the carved wood-work in the Chapel is of the highest quality.

The 17th century font and cover is of oak carved with flowers and foliage and the finial is in the form of an urn.

On the north wall there are some drawings of the interior before and after the 1897 restoration, and a framed copy of King Ethelred’s charter of 1007 under which which a new monastery chapel was built to replace the original one which had fallen into ruin following a Viking raid.

At the east end there is a handsome late 17th century reredos, the most important feature in the Chapel, with twisted columns supporting a broken pediment. The paving of the santuary is the original black and white marble. The 17th century Communion rails have been replaced round three sides of the alter although in 1897 another carved rail was provided further west.

Halfway along the south wall is a monument to the founder of the presesnt building, Sir James Altham, and his third wife Helen. Sir James is in his robes as a Baron of the Exchequer and Lady Altham is in the widow’s weeds of the period (1638).

Further west is a monument in Adam style to John Astell Bucknall who died in 1797 and a tablet commenorating the building of the chapel in 1612.

Brief Notes about Oxhey Chapel

History

In 1612 James Altham, a judge and baron of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I and James I, built the chapel on the site of a monatic church of his family and servants. In 1649 Cromwell’s troops desecrated the building and used it as a store and barracks, and in the course of its history it has undergone many alterations. It reached its present shape in 1897 when the vesteries were added and the pews arranged in collegiate fashion, the work being paid for by Thaomas Blackwell of Crosse and Blackwell the food manufacturers.

In 1944 the land round the chapel was acquired by the London County Council as a housing estate and the chapel was used by the first tenants in 1948. In 1953 the new All Saints Church, to the north of the chapel was consecrated and by 1962 the chapel had become dilapidated and in the severe winter of 1962/3 part of the roof collapsed. Later in the same year an appeal of £6,000 was raised and restoration was commenced. Extensive work was carried out including the complete replacement of the roof tiles and timbers.

The Chapel came back into use but by 1973 the parish decided that it was no longer essential to their needs and in 1976 it was declared formally redundant. The following year it was transferred to the care of the Redundant Churches Fund. Repairs have been carried out by Messers. R Gibson of Northwood under the super-vision of Mr P J E Mark, architect.

 

This page was added on 04/05/2018.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *