Chapel of St Helen, Chapel Ascot

Description of this historic site

The site of the Medieval Chapel of St Helen for which there is documentary and earthwork evidence. The location is at Chapel Ascote.

Notes about this historic site

1 Churches at Hodnell, Ascote and Watergall are referred to in Medieval documents. These references are probably in fact three names for the same building.
2 1486: John Spencer asked to be buried in the chancel. A century later Thomas Wilkes asks to be buried in Coventry and this may indicate disuse of the church. In 1602 the rectory and church are mentioned and in 1638 its demolition was noted. Dugdale records it as ‘now scarcely to be seen’.
3 At Chapel Ascote the church appears to have been deliberately placed halfway between two villages. Beighton places St Helen’s Chapel to the E of Ascote Farm at the location recorded as ‘Chappel Meadow’ and ‘Chappel Field’ on the estate map. The church was isolated between Ascote and Hodnell forming a convenient midway position.
4 The site of the chapel is assumed to be the mound which is visible in the field called Chappel Meadow (1775) or Chapel Close (1934). The mound is about 20m long and 10m wide and orientated NE-SW. A flat area between the mound and the road could be churchyard. The site is surrounded on three sides by ridge and furrow. The dedication to St Helen is an apt dedication for an isolated church by a highway. The church existed by 1208. In 1531 Thomas Spencer requested that his body should be buried in the church. The church must have been abandoned soon after, probably by 1595. In 1638 the church was altogether demolished.
6 Noted in Dugdale.
7 There is no surviving ridge and furrow surrounding this site.
8 Cropmark visible on to the E of Ascote Farm. Aerial photograph shows what appears to be a rectangular building (chapel?) (aprox 30mx10m) aligned NE/SW, surrounded by a walled enclosure (aprox100m x 75m). Appears that recent ploughing has dragged material (stone) up showing outline of complex.

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