Chapel of ease

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St Nicholas' Chapel in King's Lynn, England's largest chapel of ease Kings-lynn-st-nich-chapel.JPG
St Nicholas' Chapel in King's Lynn, England's largest chapel of ease
All Saints' Church at Buncton dates from the 11th or 12th century. All Saints, Buncton.jpg
All Saints' Church at Buncton dates from the 11th or 12th century.

A chapel of ease (or chapel-of-ease) is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently. [1]

Church architecture branch of architecture focused on church buildings

Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religion, partly by innovation and partly by imitating other architectural styles as well as responding to changing beliefs, practices and local traditions. From the birth of Christianity to the present, the most significant objects of transformation for Christian architecture and design were the great churches of Byzantium, the Romanesque abbey churches, Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance basilicas with its emphasis on harmony. These large, often ornate and architecturally prestigious buildings were dominant features of the towns and countryside in which they stood. However, far more numerous were the parish churches in Christendom, the focus of Christian devotion in every town and village. While a few are counted as sublime works of architecture to equal the great cathedrals and churches, the majority developed along simpler lines, showing great regional diversity and often demonstrating local vernacular technology and decoration.

Parish church church which acts as the religious centre of a parish

A parish church in Christianity is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish. In many parts of the world, especially in rural areas, the parish church may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events. The church building reflects this status, and there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Many villages in Europe have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, but all periods of architecture are represented.

Contents

Overview

Often a chapel of ease is deliberately built as such, being more accessible to some parishioners than the main church. Such a chapel may exist, for example, when a parish covers several dispersed villages, or a central village together with its satellite hamlet or hamlets. In such a case the parish church will be in the main settlement, with one or more chapels of ease in the subordinate village(s) and/or hamlet(s). An example is the chapel belonging to All Hallows' Parish in Maryland, USA; the chapel was built in Davidsonville from 1860 to 1865 because the parish's "Brick Church" in South River was too far away at 5 miles (8 km) distant. [2] A more extreme example is the Chapel-of-Ease built in 1818 on St. David's Island in Bermuda to spare St. David's Islanders crossing St. George's Harbour to reach the parish church, St. Peter's, on St. George's Island. [3] [4] [5]

Chapel Religious place of fellowship attached to a larger institution

A chapel is a Christian place of prayer and worship that is usually relatively small, and is distinguished from a church. The term has several senses. Firstly, smaller spaces inside a church that have their own altar are often called chapels; the Lady Chapel is a common type of these. Secondly, a chapel is a place of worship, sometimes non-denominational, that is part of a building or complex with some other main purpose, such as a school, college, hospital, palace or large aristocratic house, castle, barracks, prison, funeral home, cemetery, airport, or a military or commercial ship. Thirdly, chapels are small places of worship, built as satellite sites by a church or monastery, for example in remote areas; these are often called a chapel of ease. A feature of all these types is that often no clergy were permanently resident or specifically attached to the chapel. Finally, for historical reasons, chapel is also often the term used for independent or nonconformist places of worship in Great Britain—outside the established church, even where in practice they operate as a parish church.

Village Small clustered human settlement smaller than a town

A village is a part of a world clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though villages are often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighborhoods. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement.

Hamlet (place) Small human settlement in a rural area

A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, hamlets may be the size of a town, village or parish, be considered a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church or other place of worship.

Some chapels of ease are buildings which used to be the main parish church until a larger building was constructed for that purpose. For example, the small village of Norton, Hertfordshire, contains the mediaeval church of St Nicholas, which served it adequately for centuries; but when the large new town of Letchworth was built, partly within the parish, St Nicholas's became too small to serve the increased population. This led to the building of a new main church building for the parish, and St Nicholas's became a chapel of ease.

Norton, Hertfordshire village in Hertfordshire, one of the three original villages which were absorbed into Letchworth Garden City

Norton is a small village in Hertfordshire, one of the three original villages which were absorbed into Letchworth Garden City, the other two being Willian and Old Letchworth. The village is known to have existed by 1007, with remains of the medieval settlement visible as earthworks in a field beside the church. However, the history of the village goes back even further than that.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Church of St Nicholas, Norton grade II listed church in the United kingdom

The Church of St Nicholas in Norton in Hertfordshire is the parish church for what was originally the village of Norton but which today has become a suburb of Letchworth Garden City. The present building dates from about 1109 to 1119, with additions in the 15th century including the tower. Before the Reformation it was a stopping point on the pilgrim route to the Abbey of St Albans and the shrine there.

Chapels of ease are sometimes associated with large manor houses, where they provide a convenient place of worship for the family of the manor, and for the domestic and rural staff of the house and the estate. There are many such chapels in England, for example that at Pedlinge in Kent. An example in the New World is Saint John's Chapel of Ease in Chamcook, New Brunswick, Canada, which was built in the 1840s to support a gentleman's house and the small settlement of shipbuilders, farmers, and grist-mill nearby. [6]

Manor house country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor

A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial courts, communal meals with manorial tenants and great banquets. The term is today loosely applied to various country houses, frequently dating from the late medieval era, which formerly housed the gentry.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Pedlinge human settlement in United Kingdom

Pedlinge is a hamlet on the edge of the village of Saltwood in Kent. It has its own church, though this is officially classified as a District Chapel-of-Ease since Pedlinge is part of the parish of Saltwood, and not a parish in its own right.

Sometimes an ancient parish church is reduced in status to a chapel of ease due to a shift of population. An example is the churches of St Mary Wiston and All Saints' at Buncton in West Sussex. For centuries St Mary's was the parish church (located near to Wiston House and therefore the centre of population), whilst All Saints' served the nearby hamlet of Buncton, as a chapel of ease. Today, however, the resident population of Wiston is tiny, whilst Buncton has grown, so that in 2007 the status of the buildings was reversed, with All Saints' becoming the parish church, and St Mary's reduced to a chapel of ease.

Wiston, West Sussex Village in West Sussex, England

Wiston is a scattered village and civil parish in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England. It lies on the A283 road 2.8 miles (4.5 km) northwest of Steyning.

All Saints Church, Buncton Church in West Sussex , United Kingdom

All Saints Church is an Anglican church in the hamlet of Buncton in the district of Horsham, one of seven local government districts in the English county of West Sussex. Built in the 11th or 12th century as a small chapel of ease to a nearby parish church, and hardly changed or restored since, the stone chapel stands behind a "delightful ... wooded ravine" beneath the South Downs and has been called "a real piece of hidden Sussex". The chancel arch, between the nave and chancel which made up the simple two-room building, had a bizarre 12th-century carving of a person of indeterminate sex exposing their genitalia—until 2004, when an unknown vandal destroyed it with a chisel. The church is still used for Christian worship, and English Heritage has listed it at Grade I for its architectural and historical importance.

Buncton village in United Kingdom

Buncton is a small village in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England, part of the civil parish of Wiston 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north. It lies to the east of the A24 road, 11 miles (18 km) as the crow flies, about 18 miles (29 km) by road south of Horsham and 6 miles (9.7 km) north west of Shoreham by Sea.

When two or more existing parishes are combined into a single parish, one or more of the old church buildings may be kept as a chapel of ease. For example, the six Roman Catholic parishes in Palo Alto, California, were combined into a single parish, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in 1987. [7] Since then, St. Thomas Aquinas Church serves as the parish church, with Our Lady of the Rosary Church and St. Albert the Great Church as chapels of ease.

Palo Alto, California City in California in the United States

Palo Alto is a charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Palo Alto means tall stick in Spanish; the city is named after a coastal redwood tree called El Palo Alto.

When a parish is split because of expanding population a chapel of ease may be promoted to a full parish church. An example of this is St. Margaret's Church, Rochester which started as a chapel of ease for the parish of St Nicholas in 1108, became a parish church in 1488 then reverted to a chapel of ease when the parish was recombined with St Peter's in 1953.

See also

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References

  1. Wooster, Lyman. "Chapels of Ease". Heritage Library Foundation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  2. Enright, Gail. "The History of All Hallows Parish" . Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  3. Anglican Church of Bermuda. Where to Worship. OUR CHURCHES: St. George's Parish
  4. www.theonionpatch.com. "Bermuda - Chapel of Ease". www.theonionpatch.com.
  5. Bermuda Online: Bermuda's St. David's Island. In St. George's Parish but with a unique flavour and character: St. David's Chapel of Ease
  6. Grimmer, E. Muriel (1 August 2000), History of Saint John's Chapel of Ease, Chamcook, New Brunswick, CanadaGenWeb.org, an ancestry.com community, retrieved 8 February 2012
  7. "About St. Thomas Aquinas Parish" . Retrieved 6 February 2012.