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Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall

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The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, is a Grade I listed building and among the oldest largely intact Christian churches in England; it is still in regular use. It dates from between 660–662.

Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall
St Peters Chapel.jpg
Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall is located in England
Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall
Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall
51°44′07″N 0°56′24″E / 51.73536°N 0.93994°E / 51.73536; 0.93994Coordinates: 51°44′07″N 0°56′24″E / 51.73536°N 0.93994°E / 51.73536; 0.93994
LocationEssex
CountryUnited Kingdom
DenominationAnglican Church; used regularly by the nearby Othona Community
Previous denominationCatholic
Websitewww.bradwellchapel.org
History
Statusactive
Architecture
Functional statuschapel
Heritage designationlisted Grade I
Specifications
Other dimensionswall thickness 2.5 feet (0.76 m)[1]
Administration
Parishlooked after by the parish church of St Thomas Bradwell-on-Sea
DioceseDiocese of Chelmsford

HistoryEdit

 
Interior view

According to Bede, a 'city' named Ythanceaster existed on the River Penta.[2] The Chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall was almost certainly originally built by Bishop Cedd in 654.[1] It was an Anglo-Celtic church for the East Saxons, set astride the ruins of the abandoned Roman fort of Othona. The current structure was most likely built around 654–662, incorporating the Roman bricks and stones. Cedd travelled south from Lindisfarne to spread Christianity at the behest of Sigeberht the Good, then King of the East Saxons, in 653 and returned the next year having been ordained as a bishop in order to build the Chapel, and probably others too. Following the death of Cedd in October 664 from plague, the Chapel became part of the Diocese of London.[3]

 
From the side

No further record exists of the Chapel's use until 1442 when the local clergy reported to the Bishop of London that it had been expanded slightly, with a small tower above the porch with a bell in it. However, they did not know of its origins and it was unusable, having been burnt. It was repaired and returned to regular use alongside the parish church in Bradwell-on-Sea until at least the Tudor period (16th century) before falling into disuse as a church again and being used as a barn—the position of the wide barn doorway, now filled in, can be seen on the south side of the nave.

In 1920, it was restored and reconsecrated as a chapel; it achieved Grade I listed status in 1959.[4]

Current useEdit

The Chapel belongs to Chelmsford Cathedral and is looked after by the Chaplain Revd Steven Poss, Rector of the parish church of St Thomas Bradwell-on-Sea. Regular public services are held in the chapel each week with a Thursday morning Communion service at 9am. Special services are held at Christmas and Easter. In the summer evening services are held each Sunday in July and August at 6:30pm.

The Chapel and adjacent field are the home of the Bradwell Pilgrimage held on the first Saturday in July. The procession starts at the Parish Church of St Thomas when the pilgrims walk to the Chapel of St Peter's where services and events are held.

The Chapel is also used by the nearby Othona Community. Founded in 1946 by Norman Motley, rector of St Michael, Cornhill, 1956-1980, this Christian-based community is open to people of all faiths and none.[5]

In 2018 the Chapel was the location for two music videos by the boys' choir Libera.[6]

View southward along the coast near the chapel

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Historic England 2012.
  2. ^ Bede 2008, p. 146.
  3. ^ The Fort of Othona and the Chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex (booklet available at the Chapel itself)
  4. ^ "Chapel of St Peter on the Wall". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  5. ^ "The Othona Community's Beginnings". Othona. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  6. ^ In Paradisum (solo: Rocco Tesei) and Lacrymosa (solo: Alex Gula and Leo Barron); Libera Official, 2018 (YouTube).

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit