HENDRED MUSEUM History
Chapel Museum is a collection related to the history and memorabilia of
East Hendred. It is housed in a Grade I listed Carthusian Chapel in
Chapel Square, with a Reserve Store and display in Snells Hall. At
Snells Hall there is also a recently erected home for the village 1831
horse drawn and hand powered Fire Pump.
Chapel of Jesus of Bethlehem which houses village museum since
mid-1970s and is generally known as 'Champ's Chapel' was originally
built by the Carthusian monks in 1453.
1415 a group of monks came to East Hendred from the Carthusian
Monastery of Jesus of Bethlehem at Sheen, Surrey, to build on the land
known as 'King's Manor' - one of the five manors that then made up the
village. The land had belonged to the Abbey of Noyon in Normandy from
the time of the Domesday survey until Henry V dispossessed foreign
religious houses of their lands in England in 1414. The Manor was then
granted, with some other land around the village, to the Carthusians
from Sheen - a wealthy house, though one whose members practiced a life
of exceptional austerity. Work started almost immediately, the monks
building with pride in their newly acquired manor.
precise original uses to which the chapel was put are not easily
assessed, partly because of lack of early record and partly because of
changes that have obscured the earlier relationships between the chapel
and the other monastic buildings of 'King's Manor'. But by
investigating general mediaeval church practices together with the
remaining fabric of the building it is possible to make some guesses
about how the chapel may have once related to both village and
dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII brought change and the
chapel was deconsecrated. Unlike most monastic buildings the roof was
not removed and the building survives in almost its original format. It
is a small rectangular building 25' 6" by 15' 3" internally. A half
timbered priests house which adjoins it on the North side was added
some 60 years later.
is built of rough ashlar (1974 renewals have been in Clipshamstone)
and has a tiled roof. The East end window is of three lights with
tracery. At the East end of each sidewall is a square-headed window of
two cinque-foil lights. At the North side at the West end is a blocked
doorway at first floor level to the Priests house. In the West wall is
a four-centred doorway and above it a square-headed window of two
cinque-foil lights. In the South wall is a small window blocked with
the East window at a lower level, at each side of the original position
of the altar, are two stone brackets for statues. There is an aumbry in
the South wall. The Chapel is internally divided by an oak screen with
a central doorway and five bays on either side with rounded heads.
Three beams support a floor dividing the western part of the Chapel
into two storeys.
seems to be some doubt as to how much of the combined property the
priest occupied while the chapel was in use. The upstairs portion of
the chapel at the west end is screened off at the eastern end by a
timber partition, at some time plastered, and was directly connected
with the Priests house built about 60 years after the chapel
Chapel, in 1585, is said to have been granted to Thomas Johnes and
Richard Thomas. It was by then already profaned. John Sherwood claimed
to hold the Johnes and Thomas interest by 1607.
Champ family appear in the East Hendred church register from 1577.
(Champe wills refer to them as substantial farmers who had a shop.)
Richard Champe (senior) died in 1634 William Champ died in 1696. An
earlier William Champe who died in 1690 was described in his will as a
1690 the Priests house was extended farther East and it now overlaps
the Chapel at the East end blocking the North Window The North window
has had some of the tracery removed at some time, allegedly to provide
access to a false floor installed across the building to make another
bedroom inside the chapel itself. Extended again even later, at one
time it was two cottages.
the years following desecration - the chapel was used for varied
purposes such as a pigeon house, a wash house and bake house as well as
storage. A member of the Eyston family Mr George Dunn, bought the total
property in the early 1900's, and made it weatherproof. Local builder
Richard Stibbs and he did the work.
of the outside of the building taken at the time of the 1900
restoration show a door set high in the East window presumably allowing
access from the Pound for goods or even access to the pigeons alleged
to have been bred there for eggs and food. . A view from the West taken
around that time shows both the Chapel and the House next door, very
derelict. That photograph shows the Priests House with two windows in
the upper gable end. One of these was made up of three stone mullions.
the 1900 restoration work the roof was made watertight and all the
windows were unblocked. The plasterwork from the screen and internal
partitions were removed, as was the temporary floor at the Eastern end.
Restoration was not totally complete until 1970's when substantial
timber replacement took place and stairs were installed. The Chapel is
currently used as a museum by the East Hendred Heritage Trust