The Bishop’s Chapel

t: 01252 721194

The Bishop’s Chapel

John Webb the fashionable architect of his day, designed the Bishop’s Chapel. It dates from the same period as the Great Stair.

The room reflects prevailing Protestant views of the period. Services should be conducted close to the congregation, and not at the east end.

…the table…shall stande, in the body of the church…the priest standing at the north side of the Table…
The Order for Holye Communion
Second Prayer Book of 1549

A concealed staircase leads to the pulpit in the centre of the north (left) wall.

Protestant beliefs of the time are also reflected in the original stained glass window. Now in the passage outside the Chapel, the window depicts simple flowers rather than ‘idolatrous’ images of Christ or the Saints.

Woodcarving on the walls is mainly artisan, though the fine work over the doorway may be by Grinling Gibbons. Thecherubs on the walls are alike, except for by the door. Here, on each side, the end cherubs have the wing closest to the door pulled towards their ear. Are they trying to keep out a draught or noise?

In the entrance doors are carvings of faces set in circles of sunrays. While Bishop Morley was in exile during the Commonwealth and Protectorate, he met Louis XIVof France, the ‘Sun King’. The carvings are said to be a gift from King Louis to Morley upon his return to England.

The present layout of the Chapel probably owes its form to Bishop Thomas (1761 – 1781). The brass chandelier belongs to that period. Returned to an eastern position, the altar table is divided from the congregation by a rail.

In 1894, Bishop Thorold replaced the original east window (now in the outside passage) with stained glass depicting the crucified Christ.

Appearance of the Risen Christ on the Lake of Galilee, painted by Sir William Hole, hangs behind the altar. Loaned by the Episcopal Church in Scotland, the painting illustrates St. John, Chapter 21, versus 1 to 14.

When electric light was installed in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, Edward VII gave Bishop Davidson (1895 – 1903) permission to remove the small candlesticks at the pew fronts.