Chapel of ease

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]

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


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]

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.

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]

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.

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.

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


  1. ^ Wooster, Lyman. "Chapels of Ease". Heritage Library Foundation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA. 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. ^ "Bermuda - Chapel of Ease".
  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,, an community, retrieved 8 February 2012
  7. ^ "About St. Thomas Aquinas Parish". Retrieved 6 February 2012.

Burlescombe (, bur-LES-kəm) is a village and civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon, England. The parish is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Holcombe Rogus, Culmstock, Uffculme, Halberton and Sampford Peverell. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 911. The village is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south west of Wellington in Somerset. The ruins of the 12th century Canonsleigh Abbey are nearby. Burlescombe is part of the electoral ward of Canonsleigh. The population of this ward was 3,218 at the 2011 Census.

Capel Garmon

Capel Garmon is a village near Betws-y-Coed in the county borough of Conwy, Wales. It is situated high above the Conwy valley, in the community of Bro Garmon, and commands views over Snowdonia. The village is known for the neolithic burial chamber nearby.

The parish church of St Garmon was originally a chapel of ease to the parish of Llanrwst, serving the areas of Garth Garmon and Tybrith Uchaf. Capel Garmon became a separate parish in 1927. The current chapel, the latest in a series of churches at the site, was consecrated in 1862 but is now closed.

The burial chamber at Capel Garmon dates from the 3rd millennium BC, and belongs to the Severn-Cotswold group. It consists of a passage leading to a rectangular space, with circular chambers branching to the east and west. The structure has undergone much renovation and the current entrance, originally one of the inner chambers, was made in the 19th century, when the tomb was used as a stable.

In addition to sherds of Beaker pottery found in the burial chamber, Capel Garmon was also home to a 1st-century BC iron fire dog which can now be seen at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

The village consists of a small number of houses a school a pub which opens rarely for two and a half to three hours and several holiday accommodations as well as surrounding working farms.


A chapelry was a subdivision of an ecclesiastical parish in England and parts of Lowland Scotland up to the mid 19th century.It had a similar status to a township but was so named as it had a chapel of ease (chapel) which was the community's official place of worship in religious and secular matters, and the fusion of these matters — principally tithes — initially heavily tied to the main parish church. The church's medieval doctrine of subsidiarity when the congregation or sponsor was wealthy enough supported their constitution into new parishes. Such chapelries were first widespread in northern England and in largest parishes across the country which had populous outlying places. Except in cities the entire coverage of the parishes (with very rare extra-parochial areas) was fixed in medieval times by reference to a large or influential manor or a set of manors. A lord of the manor or other patron of an area, often the Diocese, would for prestige and public convenience set up an additional church of sorts, a chapel of ease which would serve the chapelry: typically an area roughly equal to the old extent of the manor or a new industrious area. The chapels as opposed to mission churches/rooms had a date of consecration, dedication to a saint or saints and typically their own clergy and were by and large upgraded, "(re-)constituted" into parishes. A small minority fell redundant and were downgraded or closed, though at a lesser rate than mission rooms which usually cheaply built and declined after the invention of different modes of private wheeled transport.

The vestry, whether a joint board (with the whole parish) or dedicated in each chapelry, was empowered under an Act of Parliament in the reign of Henry VIII to collect rates to improve the roads, other general purposes, and administer the Poor Law (e.g. indoor and outdoor relief, the Speenhamland system and other wages systems) until the establishment of Poor Law Unions in the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1867 declared that all areas that levied a separate rate should become civil parishes thus their number approximately equalled the sum of ecclesiastical parishes and chapelries. Civil parishes have been abolished in many urban areas, removing the third tier of British local government.

Christ Church, Worthing

Christ Church and its burial grounds in Worthing, England, were consecrated in 1843 by the Bishop of Chichester, Ashurst Turner Gilbert, to meet the need for church accommodation for the poor. Built by subscription between 1840 and 1843, the Church was initially regarded as a chapel of ease to St Mary's Church in Broadwater. The chapel of ease was upgraded to the status of church with its own parish in 1855.

Christ Church is the second oldest Church of England church still standing in Worthing town centre, after St Paul's Church which stands 100 metres to the east at the opposite end of Ambrose Place. Standing at 85 feet (26 metres) tall Christ Church is one of Worthing's most dominant flint buildings.The church was built mainly to provide church accommodation for the poor in Worthing, since the existing chapel of ease, now St Paul's Church, was funded as a proprietary chapel and so excluded the poor.


Cookbury is a village and civil parish in the local government district of Torridge, Devon, England. The parish, which lies about five miles east of the town of Holsworthy, is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Thornbury, Bradford, Ashwater, Hollacombe, and Holsworthy Hamlets. In 2001 its population was 158, little changed from the 146 residents it had in 1901.The parish church has an unusual dedication to St John the Baptist and the Seven Maccabees and still has its 13th-century tower and chancel. It was designated as redundant in 1982, but classed as a chapel-of-ease in 1987 and restored in 1992, united with the neighbouring parish of Bradford.Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter from 1307 until his death in 1326, was born in the parish at Stapledon, now a farmhouse but once the mansion of the family.The U.K. national cycle route 3 passes through Cookbury linking the Tarka Trail with Bude on the North Cornwall coast.

Within the parish of Bradford & Cookbury are National Trust Dunsland (featuring a SSSI) and a Forestry Commission woodland at Bramble wood.

Eckington Cemetery

Eckington Cemetery is a cemetery in Eckington, Derbyshire, England. The cemetery serves Eckington itself, as well as nearby villages such as Mosborough and Ridgeway.The cemetery features a number of Commonwealth War Graves.


Guyhirn is a village near the town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the northern bank of the River Nene, at the junction of the A141 with the A47. The population is included in the civil parish of Wisbech St Mary.


Leavenheath is a village and civil parish located on the Essex - Suffolk border. Located on the A134 between Sudbury and Colchester, it is part of Babergh district. The parish also contains the hamlets of Cock Street and Honey Tye, and in 2001 had a population of 1,373, falling slightly to 1,370 at the 2011 Census.The village was named after the Leaven Heath, an area of open land between Boxford, Bures, Nayland and Polstead. It does not have a village centre, but is separated into two parts around half a mile apart by Leaden Hall. The northern section is to the east of the A134, the southern section to the west. Such is the dispersed nature of the village, that it did not even have a church until St Matthew's> was built, originally as a chapel of ease, in 1836, and was not designated as a parish until 1952; prior to that it was part of Stoke by Nayland Parish.

The south-eastern part of the parish is covered by the Dedham Vale AONB, whilst the south-west contains a section of the Arger Fen SSSI. In the east of the parish are The Carrs, a set of four ponds that feed the River Stour. Breach Grove and Leadenhall Woods are both designated nature reserves.

Nether Worton

Nether Worton is a hamlet in Oxfordshire, about 6 1⁄2 miles (10.5 km) south of Banbury and 7 miles (11 km) east of Chipping Norton. Nether Worton was a separate civil parish until 1932, when it was merged with Over Worton to form the current civil parish of Worton.


Nordelph is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.

The parish covers an area of 16.57 km2 (6.40 sq mi) and had a population of 375 in 151 households at the 2001 census, increasing to 405 at the 2011 Census.For the purposes of local government, Nordelph falls within the district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.

The Church of Holy Trinity is of brick in the Early English style, and was erected as a chapel of ease in 1865.The Reverend Edwin Emmanuel Bradford (1860–1944), English clergyman, Uranian poet and novelist, was vicar of Nordelph.

Ralph Baldock

Ralph Baldock (or Ralph de Baldoc) was a medieval Bishop of London.

Baldock was elected on 24 February 1304, confirmed 10 May, and consecrated on 30 January 1306.Baldock served as Lord Chancellor of England from 21 April 1307 to 2 August 1307. He licensed Bow Church on 17 November 1311 as a chapel of ease. He died on 24 July 1313.

Središče ob Dravi

Središče ob Dravi (pronounced [sɾɛˈdiːʃtʃɛ ɔb ˈdɾaːʋi], German: Polstrau) is a town and municipality in northeastern Slovenia. It lies on the left bank of the Drava River and borders with Croatia.The parish church of Središče ob Dravi is in the neighbouring village of Grabe. The church in the actual settlement of Središče ob Dravi is a chapel of ease and is dedicated to Mary of the Seven Sorrrows. It was built in 1637. In the 18th century the nave was vaulted.

St Llibio's Church, Llanllibio

St Llibio's Church, Llanllibio is a demolished church in Anglesey, north Wales. Founded by Llibio in the sixth century, the church served a small community of bondmen as a chapel of ease. The population of Llanllibio declined substantially during the Middle Ages as a result of the Black Death and changes in farming practice, amongst other factors, and the community that the church served effectively disappeared. As a result, St Llibio's closed in the seventeenth century; the remaining worshippers moved to another local church.

Plans in the nineteenth century to rebuild the church, which was in ruins by 1776, came to nothing. Except for a memorial stone, nothing more than "tiny traces" of St Llibio's can now be seen.

St Mary's, Dublin (chapel of ease)

St Mary's Chapel of Ease, also known as "The Black Church", is a former chapel in Dublin, Ireland. Now deconsecrated, it was a church of the Church of Ireland located on St Mary's Place, Broadstone, Dublin. It is constructed from local calp limestone which takes on a dark hue when wet. This is the origin of the building's nickname. A chapel of ease is a church building, other than a parish church, that is located within the bounds of a parish for the convenience of those who cannot conveniently reach the main church. The parish's main church, now also deconsecrated, was St Mary's on Mary Street.

St Mary Magdalene Church, Holloway Road

St Mary Magdalene Church is one of Hope Church Islington's places of worship, an Anglican church on Holloway Road in north London. It is located in St Mary Magdalene Gardens opposite Islington Central Library. St Mary Magdalene is part of the Parish of Hope Church Islington (previously the Parish of St Mary Magdalene and St David). In 2013 its sister church St David's on Westbourne road was reopened so St Mary Magdalene now functions as one of two worship sites of the Parish, with a single leadership and a staff team. The early 19th century building accommodates the activities of the church congregation, including church services, a winter night shelter, 'Mini Mags' – a toddlers group, and provides spaces to other users. Baptisms and confirmations, marriages and funerals are regularly held here.

St Thomas' Church, Parkgate

St Thomas' Church is in School Lane, Parkgate, Cheshire, England. It is an Anglican chapel of ease in the parish of St Mary and St Helen, Neston, the deanery of Wirral South, the archdeaconry of Chester, and the diocese of Chester. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building. Because of its earlier associations with the fishing community, it has been called the "Fisherman's Church".


Starcross is a village with a population of 1,780 situated on the west shore of the Exe Estuary in Teignbridge in the English county of Devon. The village is popular in summer with leisure craft, and is home to one of the United Kingdom's oldest sailing clubs.

The A379 road and the London to Penzance railway line both run through the village along the banks of the estuary. Starcross railway station is situated on the railway, and the Starcross to Exmouth Ferry, a small passenger ferry, operates across the estuary to Exmouth.

A notable feature of Starcross is the Italianate pumping engine house, the best surviving building from Brunel's unsuccessful Atmospheric Railway. The enterprise is commemorated in the Atmospheric Railway pub located opposite the present-day railway station. Note that the Brunel pumphouse now houses the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club rather than a museum dedicated to the atmospheric railway, as quoted in many guide books.

St. Paul's Church is found on Church Street, opposite the Almshouses. It was mentioned in Piggott and Co.'s pocket atlas, topography and gazetteer of England 1840 as St. Paul's Chapel of Ease.

Powderham Castle is also located north of the village on the A379 road towards the village of Kenton.


Templenoe (Irish: An Teampall Nua, meaning "new temple") is a settlement in County Kerry, Ireland. It is situated four miles from Kenmare, on the N70 road to Sneem, which forms part of the Ring of Kerry.

Templenoe is the location of the Ring of Kerry golf club. There is a Gaelic Athletic Association ground, a pier, a post office and a Catholic chapel of ease for the Kenmare parish. Dromore Castle and Dunkerron Castle are located in the area.

The Spillane brothers, Pat Spillane, Mick Spillane and Tom Spillane, famous Gaelic football players for the County Kerry team, were born in Templenoe. Pat Spillane now owns a bar in the village, called Pat Spillane's bar.

In the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire, Templenoe is the birthplace of fictional character Margaret Schroeder née Rohan. Schroeder is played by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.

Upton, Cambridgeshire

Upton is a civil parish in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. For electoral purposes it forms part of Glinton and Wittering ward in North West Cambridgeshire constituency. The population of the parish is included in the civil parish of Sutton.

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist is a 12th-century Norman church with a north aisle rebuilt in 17th century. It was a chapel-of-ease and was built as a daughter church to St Kyneburgha's at Castor. The church is a Grade I listed building. It is set in the fields to the east of the village, 100 yards from the Roman King Street.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.