Brockhampton the Ruined Chapel
The now-ruined Chapel is one of the longest standing features of the Brockhampton. During excavations carried out on the estate a piece of Malvernian pottery was discovered, dating from around 1166.
The original chapel here was made mostly from timber and daub (a mixture of mud and dung which becomes hard when set). The only surviving parts of this first construction are the shallow foundations.
The chapel we see today was most likely built around the same date as the pottery which was discovered by archaeologists, dating around 1166, the octagonal font inside was carved from a single block of stone and also dates from the same era.
The Domultons who were the owners of the newly built manor house in the early 1400s are thought to be responsible for updating the chapel and were thought to be responsible for adding the large east window. It’s most likely these modifications were made the same time the manor was being built.
The chapel is constructed out of local stone and excavations tell us it once had stone roof tiles with ceramic green glazed ridge tops and walls plastered with lime whitewash.
How was it used?
The earliest record of services and clergy here is 1308; these continued until 1402. During that time its patron was always the estate owner who was responsible for providing financial support and ensuring the buildings upkeep. A break in the attendance of clergy from 1402 until 1757 suggests the building became a ‘chapel-of-ease’; a privately owned chapel which hosted services for those who could not reach churches in Bromyard. Marriages and baptisms would have taken place here under a special license granted from the Bishop. No burials have been recorded here.
Discovering a lost Medieval Village
The graveyard next to the chapel contains numerous burials, many are thought to be the inhabitants of a lost Medieval village. An archaeological dig here in 2012 uncovered the stone walls of a large manor house indicating that a village, most likely the lost village of Studmarsh, may once have been situated here. The two gravestones which were located at the ruined chapel that are still legible commemorate Richard Barneby (1719) and his wife Isabella (1726). The chapel had been abandoned by 1799, when John Barnaby built a new estate church by the drive to his Father’s new house.
A beautiful ruin
It is thought the chapel stopped being used when the new church was built. The new church coincided with the building of the new mansion on the estate. However, the chapel didn’t fall into disrepair until much later. John Habington Lutley apparently remembered it being in a usable state in around 1845, but by 1870 it had become ‘encumbered with rank weeds and parasitic plants’ as stated by Buckler.