Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

The Chapel of St Mark, South Park, Bletchingley

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St Marks and adjacent Manor House, South Park

St Marks and adjacent Manor House, South Park

I recently spent a pleasant weekend in Surrey. A Saturday afternoon walk took me to a delightful little chapel dedicated to St Mark on the estate of South Park near Bletchingley. The history of the South Park Estate goes back to the Doomsday Book, however the chapel is more recent.

The building was originally the cart stables of the farm and dates from about 1650 when the old hunting lodge of the estate was turned into a farmhouse. The stables were converted to a chapel by Alfred Uvedale Miller Lambert (1870 – 1928) in 1909 as a thanksgiving for the birth of his only child, Uvedale H.H. Lambert (1909 – 1983).

The roof was partially destroyed by fire in 1912 but contemporary timbers from a barn were used for repair. It was again seriously damaged by a flying bomb in 1944 and timbers at the west end, taken out of the old house (which stood in front of the present house) were put in to hold up the west wall. It was reopened in 1946.

The oak work in the sanctuary was done by the estate carpenter and the ‘Surrey marble’ on the floor was dug in the wood by the Potters gate. The armorial bearings over the readers’ stalls records the ecclesiastical history of the land on which the chapel stands. Winchester Diocese until 1877, then Rochester till 1906; then Southwark (the red diamonds) and they re all in the Province of Canterbury (the blue shield).

At the west end is the record of the lay ownership of the land since Doomsday. It passes in unbroken descent (twice through the female line) from 1066 to 1521 when Henry VIII executed Edward Stafford 4th Duke of Buckingham for plotting treason ‘in his palace of Blechingleagh’ (the gate house can still be seen at Place Farm). Henry also executed Sir Nicholas Carew and gave the manor to his wife, Anne of Cleves. As soon as Henry died, Anne’s steward, Sir Thomas Cawarden, got hold of the property.

Elizabeth I granted the Manor ro Lord William Howard whose son was the Victor of the Armada. The old admiral died in 1624 and left ll to his granddaughter who had married John Mardaunt, Lord Peterborough and it was their son Henry who got into debt backing the King in the Civil War and was foreclosed on by his creditor Robert Clayton.

Statue of St Mark on south-west corner of the chapel

Statue of St Mark on south-west corner of the chapel

Henry Thomas Lambert bought the property from the Claytons in 1875 to add to his Blechingley land. Curiously his grandson, Uvedale Lambert, was the 35th generation in direct decent (several times through the female line) from Richard de Clare to whom his cousin William the Conqueror granted the Manor in 1066.

The west door came from Hever Castle in Kent and no doubt Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn passed through it. The large rood crucifix was carved by Anton Lang of Oberammagau, the three tablets in the recess record the members of the Lambert family connected with Blechingley and those to either side record people who have lived and working on the estate.

On the south west corner of the chapel is set a statue of St Mark.

More pictures in my fotopic gallery
More pictures in my smugmug gallery

Author: Stewart

An instrumentation engineer who enjoys photography and singing. Working in the West of Scotland; a member of St Mary's Cathedral Glasgow and Southwark Cathedral; and a volunteer guard/signalman on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

One thought on “The Chapel of St Mark, South Park, Bletchingley

  1. Pingback: Round up of 2010 « Random thoughts from Pencefn

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