Oxhey's best kept secret
Watford Observer 1993
Set in a quiet corner of the housing estate, home to about 25,000 people, the tiny building measures only 47 feet by 22 feet with 30 feet high walls.
The western porch and vestries each side were added in 1897, but the west door by which one enters was the original from 1612.
Points to look out for include several murals hidden under limewash for decades but now on display, the wall monument to the founder of the Chapel, Sir James Altham and his wife and the wonderful collection of old pictures of the chapel.
Do not miss the chair from St Albans Abbey, which was given to the Peace Memorial hospital and saved from a skip when that closed by a passer – by who eventually donated it to the chapel.
Opening the chapel to the public is just part of the celebrations for the year.
Custodian of the chapel for 13 years Mr Arthur ‘Wag’ Bowerman is excited about people coming to visit. He said ” At the start of the year the Bishop of St Albans came along to see the chapel and we have had a lot of people coming along since then. It is quite funny when people come in because the building is rather difficult to find and when they come in they are surprised by the splendour of it all.
I suppose you don’t think of South Oxhey as having a beautiful little chapel in the middle of it”.
On May 3 a community festival is being held at Warren Dell school South Oxhey to celebrate Oxangehaege ’93.
“We wanted to hold a festival for the whole area to celebrate Oxhey’s history and to remind people that Christianity is still alive and well in the area ” said Mr Rivett
“The festival will involve everything you would expect, from stalls to fair rides to clowns and donkey rides. It should be a fun time for everyone”.
“We are also getting 1,200 copies of a modern version of St Lukes gospel printed and will distribute them in the area to mark the anniversary”>
“It is exciting to link the ancient history of the place with such a rootless system we live in today and I am delighted to be part of the celebrations”.
Future events for the celebration will include a holiday club for children, flower festival and visit by the Bishop of Hertford.
The chapel is open on May 1 and 2 and the festival is on the May day bank holiday.