Brimpton History: St Leonard’s Chapel

Brimpton History: St Leonard’s Chapel

The chapel as it looks today

Undoubtedly one of the oldest and most historically-significant buildings in the parish, St Leonard’s Chapel dates back to at least the 12th century. According to Heritage Gateway, the chapel (both a Scheduled Monument and a Grade II* listed building) is constructed of coursed flint with stone dressings and has a tiled roof. There are differing accounts of it’s origin, but many historians believe it to be the church of Shalford Manor, as mentioned by the Domesday Survey – despite Shalford being situated a mile away to the south-east.

The chapel was originally owned by the Hospitallers of Shalford, who later leased it to the owners of Manor Farm around the mid 1300’s. It was scheduled for ‘suppression’ as a result of the Chantries Act of 1548, but didn’t become an entirely secular building until the early 17th century.

The building has been altered and changed over the years – The north door is from the Norman period and includes a Maltese cross carved above. The various other blocked doors and windows date from the 14th century – though the main three-light window, whilst dating from the 14th century, was actually installed in the building in the 1870s when an earlier extension was removed again.

You can find a more detailed history of the early days of the chapel – including a photograph of the interior, here. British History Online also has an incredibly detailed account of the chapel’s origins. Last but by no means least, the ‘Brimpton Story’ also contains several pages of history for both the farm itself and the Chapel.

St Leonard's Chapel, Brimpton - photo taken around 1900
An un-cropped version of the photo above, taken around 1900
Another photo from 2020, showing the southern side of the building more clearly.

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