ST BENET'S CHAPEL

St. Benet's Chapel was opened in 1793 and is a rare survival of a Catholic church built for a poor community. The chapel is small and of limited architectural ambition but is poignant evidence of the troubled history of Roman Catholicism in this part of England. Erected after the Catholic Relief Acts of 1778 and 1791 when Catholics were at last allowed to worship openly, a low profile was still considered appropriate.

The chapel is mostly hidden behind the attached presbytery. After ups and downs over 180 years it finally became redundant when the new and much larger St Benet's church was built in the 1970s. Sold off, and put to a succession of uses, the building was a semi-derelict builder's store when taken into the care of the Historic Chapels Trust. Some of the interior furnishings have been lost and others stored for restoration. Important survivals including the gallery, the early 19th-century altar and a "pilastered and pedimented altarpiece which has winged cherub heads, a gloria of rays and Adamesque urns and garlands of the type that many churches of the Establishment could boast before the zealous efforts of 'ecclesiological' restorers".

You can download a Quick Guide to St Benet's from the Historical Chapels Trust here.

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