C13 chapel located within an Iron-age hill fort Chisbury Camp. The Lord of the Manor built it to assert his social status by allowing the household of the manor, as well as local people, to attend services and pay their taxes without having to travel to the parish church at Great BedwynEH. Thatched, with flint walls. The chapel was deconsecrated in 1547 and after three centuries of use as a barn it was reduced to its present dilapidated state. It is however a scheduled Ancient Monument, now in the care of English Heritage.
GRAFFITI & MARIAN MARKS (VV)
There was no scratch dial and I wasn’t expecting to find one. However the chapel is interesting enough to merit inclusion, not least because consercation crosses and church marks generally are catered for in this project.
1. shows a (possible? probable?) Fleur de Lys with G Bedwyn scrawled below – 2. is one form of protection mark – 3. enclosed initials – 4. Marian mark VV – 5. ‘scratchings’ – 6. Marian mark VV and a design with a heart that I initially thought must make it recent… However the form of the W (similar to a Marian mark) is from a much earlier time, as is the date (if it is one) in Roman numerals. I can’t decipher it beyond ..15
GSS Category: Consecration Cross; Church Marks; Marian Symbol; Medieval Graffiti
Grade II. Mid C13, with a Norman font suggesting earlier origins. Tower C15. By early C19, dilapidated and demolished (apart from the tower) and rebuilt. The work was inferior and re-rebuilding was soon required. Close to the Kennet & Avon canal between Devizes and Pewsey. 51.3598 / -1.8703 / SU09162
Badly eroded and degraded, the dial is located on the SW face of the buttress S of the W door. Apart from the semicircle at the top it is hard to discern how the dial might have looked. At first sight, this is a dial cut across 2 stones (there’s a hint of a circle on the lower stone), with the style hole presumably lost in the damaged area (the mortar line looks too high for one). Listed by TWC; not in the BSS register
Alternatively, possibly the combination of dilapidation, demolition and double rebuilding in C19 included rearranging some of the stonework of the tower that otherwise survived the chaos. Conceivably the present visible ‘semicircle stone’ was parted from a companion stone cut with the rest of the dial that was repurposed elsewhere.
Apart from the dial, there are quite a few witch marks and graffiti / initials. I take the double triangle mark beside the dial to be an emphatic ritual protection mark rather than, for example, a mason’s mark.