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Killerton Chapel Conservation Project

The coloured stained glass rose window of the Acland chapel
The rose window in the Chapel at Killerton, Devon | © National Trust / Malcolm Jarvis

Built in 1841, the Chapel of the Holy Evangelists is Grade I listed and the most historically significant building on the Killerton estate. With its iconic rose window, it means so much to many. We want to ensure that this magnificent building can continue to be enjoyed by everyone, for ever.

Why do we need to repair?

In 1824 Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 10th Baronet, consulted architect Charles Cockerell about the prospect of constructing a new private chapel to replace the existing two hundred year old chapel at Columbjohn. The chapel at Columbjohn was inconveniently situated and had ‘gradually fallen into extensive decay, so as to make its rebuilding necessary for safety’. Two hundred years later, building works and interventive conservation are required to stabilise Sir Thomas’ new replacement chapel.

Volcanic stone

The local Killerton volcanic stone, is both one of the building's great strengths but also an inherent weakness. The stone gives the Chapel of the Holy Evangelists a beautiful hue and firmly links the building to the ground it stands upon, but it is incredibly friable meaning that the building is vulnerable to weathering. A newspaper report from 1848 indicates that the Teetotal Festival was unable to access the Chapel due to repairs, hinting that the building may have faced problems from the very beginning.

Sourcing the stone

The first phase of work includes repairs and stabilisation to the stonework façade, using local Devon stone. It was always thought that it was the stone from the Clump that had been used but geologists believe that it was a quarry at Budlake that had been originally used. The stone from the Clump was used for repairs around 30 years ago and this has perished. Fresh stone has been sourced from a quarry near Crediton, Mid Devon, which is been deemed to be the closest match. Repairs will also include updates to the drainage system and restoration of the stained-glass windows.

Repairing the interior

The second phase of works is now underway. This phase will will address the interior fixtures and fittings including the organ, historic lighting and chapel grounds.

Killerton Chapel Conservation Project

May 2024

Hidden Treasures of the National Trust

Exciting news! The conservation work on the chapel window is to be featured in BBC 2's, Hidden Treasures of the National Trust. The programme will be aired on Friday 31 May at 9pm, but if you can't wait that long, have a look at series 4 on BBC iPlayer.

Funding the conservation work

The work that has been completed so far is only possible because of the funding received from supporters.

There have been a number of anonymous donors that we are very grateful for. Special thanks to Mr Bovey and Barbara Mair for their generous gifts to Killerton left in their wills, and for the donation in memory of Patricia Wood-Smith.

We're also thankful for the support from Raleigh Centre Honiton, Ottery & District Association, Culm & Exe Valleys Centre, North Somerset, Bath and Wells, Sidmouth National Trust Supporter Groups, and the Exeter and District Centre National Trust Supporter Group. We couldn't do what we do without your support.

For every pin badge sold and donation made on site, we say a big thank you. Your support will allow the conservation work to continue, allowing everyone to enjoy the chapel in the future.

Snowdrops in the grass at Killerton with the chapel in the background


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