New home for historic former Chantry Chapel frontage not seen since 1996
Ref: PR 4626
Historic stones not
seen by the public since 1996 will be on show in their new home next month.
The original façade of medieval Chantry Chapel was removed and relocated to
Kettlethorpe Hall in the 1840s. After repeated vandalism the stones’ new home
was granted scheduled monument consent by English Heritage in 1996 and Wakefield
Council, which by then was responsible for the building, dismantled it in order
to rescue them.
Now we are starting work to install what remains of the original façade
in a raised bed in the Secret Garden in Thornes Park.
The £20,000 project has been funded by the George Hyde legacy which is
administered by English Heritage.
Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Chantry
Chapel is an iconic building in Wakefield and its heritage is something we’re
keen to preserve for future generations.
“We are very grateful that Mr Hyde left this legacy which has enabled us to
carry out this work and re-site the stones.
“We have received support from English Heritage throughout, and from the
Friends of CHaT Parks who have been supportive of the project and who will be
carrying out planting around the stones once they are in place.
“The Secret Garden is an ideal location as it is already home to other local
artefacts, such as a pinnacle from a restoration of Wakefield Cathedral and a
column from Wakefield’s original market cross.”
Keith Emerick, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for
English Heritage in Yorkshire said: “We’re pleased the stones, which are an
important link to Wakefield’s mediaeval past, will be on show for the public to
enjoy. Sitting alongside other rescued pieces of local architecture, this will
be an exciting new chapter in the history of these beautiful stones.”
Chantry Chapel was built in the 14th century. The current façade of Chantry
Chapel was installed by Sir George Gilbert Scott after 500 years of weathering
and pollution took its toll on the original masonry. George Norton of
Kettlethorpe Hall bought the stone in 1847 and reused it as the front of a
boathouse by a small lake in his grounds.
When Kettlethorpe Hall was bought, the front became the responsibility of the
Wakefield Corporation Council. The boat house and chapel frontage suffered
repeated and severe bouts of vandalism which progressed so fast that English
Heritage granted scheduled monument consent in April 1996 for controlled
The dismantling was carried out in June 1996 and included rescuing large
quantities of stonework which had been pushed into the lake by vandals. The
stonework was transferred to a Council depot where it is has been stored ever
Earlier this year, we commissioned a survey of the remaining
stones and an options appraisal of how and where they could be displayed so
that they could be seen again by the public. Public consultation sessions to
discuss the options were held earlier this year and it was decided to re-site
the stones in the Secret Garden in Thornes Park, Wakefield.
Work is due to start on July 14 and will take around two weeks to complete.
There will also be an interpretation sign to explain to visitors what they are
looking at and which will enable them to take a brass rubbing. During the work,
access to the Secret Garden will be restricted for health and safety reasons.