The Chapel

Dark wooden pews face each other inside the chapel

Take in the architecture of this grade I listed building. The grounds of the chapel are a quiet place to seek comfort and reflect.

The chapel is open daily 10am - 4pm

Designing the chapel


In 1841, Sir Thomas Dyke Acland 10th commissioned architect C.R.Cockrell to design his very own chapel. Before it was built, the Acland family would go to the church in Broadclyst or use their own, very small chapel at Colomb John, which couldn’t accommodate the whole family.


C.R.Cockrell was renowned for his classical style, but agreed to copy the Norman chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. Cockrell and Sir Thomas 10th had frequent discussions about the design and the construction. It cost at least £3000 to build.


The interior of the chapel is unusual as the pews face each other rather than the altar. The congregation could all see each other; the Aclands, their children, their guests, their senior servants, their lower servants, their estate workers and tenants.

The interior of the chapel at Killerton
Dark wooden pews face each other inside the chapel
The interior of the chapel at Killerton

The chapel and estate life


The Aclands were a religious family who took their duties as role models very seriously. To Sir Thomas 10th, attending church was a public act of ‘witness’, and he had a seat for himself to underline his central role as benign patriarch, with everyone expected to know their place in the social hierarchy. However, he could also be unorthodox, often voting against his fellow MP’s, supporting causes like religious liberty. A keen supporter of Willberforce, he invited the anti-slavery campaigner Samuel Crowther to the chapel, who afterwards became the first black bishop.


Sir Charles Dyke Acland, who inherited the chapel in 1898, read the lesson in chapel every Sunday, and shook the hands of his farm tenants after the service. If they did not attend one Sunday, a groom would be sent to their house on Monday morning, and requested to explain their absence face-to-face with Sir Charles. What may have been a brisk conversation was softened by a glass of whisky. Even in the 1960s, the chapel bell still rung out to call the men to work every morning. 

There were two significant Acland weddings in the chapel, Sir Thomas 10th’s daughter Agnes married Arthur Mills in 1848 when the local girls’ school lined the path holding palm leaves and the eldest daughter Amy who married the local vicar Rev Hart Davis who was attended by 8 bridesmaids.

The Acland chapel at Killerton
The Acland chapel showing the front entrance
The Acland chapel at Killerton

The chapel roof is in need of repair and that's why it is surrounded by hoarding at the moment, just to keep everyone safe .