St Martin’s Chapel Chisbury & Chisbury Camp

St Martin's Chapel Chisbury & Chisbury Camp

Chisbury Camp, located in the small village of Chisbury, north-east of Great Bedwyn, is an Iron Age hillfort dating from the 1st century AD. It was later used by the Anglo-Saxons in the late 10th and early 11th centuries as a burh (fortified settlement), one of a network of burhs throughout Wessex employed as a defence against Viking raids. The earthworks which surrounded the hillfort are still visible but are now largely wooded.

The earthworks are arranged in a pear-shaped layout with the point of the pear facing south. The best way to approach it is from the south.

On the eastern edge of the hillfort is St Martin’s Chapel which dates from the 13th century. By the end of the 16th century its use as a chapel had lapsed and it became a barn. It is now an empty shell but is preserved as a scheduled ancient monument.  The chapel is signed off the road and is reached by an unmetalled track. Inside the chapel is a storyboard explaining the building.   

This delightful chapel was built as a chapel of ease - in other words it was more convenient.  It was originally constructed by the lord of Chisbury Manor not only to assert his high social status but also to enable the household of the manor, as well as local people, to attend services and pay their taxes without having to travel to the parish church at Great Bedwyn.

The building ceased to be used as a consecrated chapel in 1547 at the time of the Reformation, and has been used as a barn for the past three centuries. The building is a pretty thatched and flint-walled construction, whose original function is still clearly visible today.

There are two vertical lines within the plaster of the side walls that mark where the rood-screen – a timber partition surmounted by a cross – once separated the altar from the nave. There is also a red cross. Crosses were painted on the walls of a church during the consecration ceremony, marking the religious status of the building.

Opening Times
Open any reasonable time during daylight hours
Follow the brown signs from the small green in the centre of the village. Please park considerately on Chisbury Lane. The chapel can be reached by walking 300 metres on an uphill track.
  • Chisbury Chapel

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