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Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin on Wakefield Bridge

Click to enlargeThe Original Façade
The original façade of the chapel was dismantled in the 1840s, it had been in place since circa 1350.
Sir Gilbert Scott installed a new façade and the medieval stonework of the original was bought by George Norton of Kettlethorpe Hall in 1847, and used to make a boathouse. When the hall was sold, the façade became the responsibility of Wakefield Council and it suffered at the hands of vandals. English Heritage granted scheduled monument consent in 1996 for controlled dismantling of the remnants. The stonework has since been stored by Wakefield council.

Related links
■ Kettlethorpe Hall
■ Chantry Chapel façade (Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway postcard, 1906).
■ New home for historic former Chantry Chapel frontage not seen since 1996 (PDF). Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Newsroom Ref: PR 4626, date: 08/07/2014.
■ The Chantry Chapel of St Mary Wakefield.
■ Visual Analysis and Phased Interpretation of Chantry Chapel, Wakefield,
Joanne Harrison. The Post Hole, the student-rub archaeology JournalIssue No.41 - November 2014. PDF version. Contains information about the various repairs and restoration work carried out to the chapel.
■ Sir Gilbert Scott (born 13 July 1811, died 27 March 1878). Renowned English architect. One of the most successful and prolific exponents of the Gothic Revival style during the Victorian period. Read more at Encyclopaedia Britannica.

This Pious Undertaking: The Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, on Wakefield Bridge
in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

(Wakefield Historical Publications) Paperback – 21 Apr 2003
by Kate Taylor
The Pious Undertaking Progresses: The Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Wakefield Bridge,
in the Nineteenth, Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries

(Wakefield Historical Publications) Paperback – 01 Aug 2011
by Kate Taylor


The Cross of St. George.Listed building entry: Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin on east side of Wakefield Bridge, Kirkgate.
List Entry Summary This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
List entry number: 1258242. Grade: I Date first listed: 14-Jul-1953. Details: 938/6/183 KIRKGATE 14-JUL-53 (South side) CHAPEL OF ST MARY ON EAST SIDE OF WAKEFIELD BRIDGE. National Grid Reference: SE 33823 20140. S
Chapel, projecting to east of central arch, circa 1350. 3-bays, resting on high, blank undercroft with foundation in the water. Ashlar with parapet of ogee blank arcading (C19 restoration). Square headed large windows with chamfered reveals, headstopped drip moulds and flamboyant tracery. Octagonal corner pinnacles. West front in reproduction of the decayed original (now at Kettlethorpe Hall, qv). Five narrow bays hold three doors, tmceried panels between, narrow outer sections, Elaborate framing of crocketed ogee arches within ornamented gables. Tall parapet with five relief panels from the lives of Christ and the Virgin. 5-light east window, similar tracery to sides. Interior shows rebuilt roof of old timber, panels with borders and bosses, applied tracery in east bay. Leafy carving on tie beams and tracery above. At north-east corner a small newel staircase. Crocketed spirelet above replaced figure of saint on east wall. Piscina with crocketed ogee head.
Source: Historic England. (Site accessed 5th Septemmber 2018.)

Click to enlarge Blue Plaque awarded to Wakefield Bridge and the chapel by the Rotary Club of Wakefield Chantry.
Click the image to read the inscription.

Click to enlarge Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin on Wakefield Bridge*
This picture shows the chapel as it was around 1860.
■ An old postcard of the Chantry, perhaps early 1900 - 1910.
■ Another old postcard, perhaps similar vintage to the one shown via the link immediately above.
(* Sometimes called Kirkgate Bridge and, more recently, Chantry Bridge.)

Click to enlarge The Battle of Wakefield, 1460.
The River Calder flowing between the old and new Wakefield Bridges. The old bridge was built soon after 1342 and so was in place at the time of the Battle of Wakefield 1460.
[19th July 2011]

At the battle, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, was slain. His son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was slain whilst attempting to escape with his tutor. He had probably fought in the battle until he was captured by the Lancastrians. The place of his death seems to have been between Fall Ings and Wakefield Bridge or perhaps as far the site of the old Six Chimneys Inn across the bridge in the town.

Click to enlarge
1. The Chantry on Kirkgate Bridge, from a postcard dated 1906.
Click to enlarge.
2. The chapel and Wakefield Bridge viewed from the south bank of the River Calder.
[old postcard]
Click to enlarge.
3. The chapel and Wakefield Bridge with the old Waterfront buildings very much in evidence.
[old postcard, circa 1900]
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4. Nestling in a picturesque spot in the countryside Not quite, the hustle and bustle of Wakefield Bridge is ever present.
[August 2009]
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5. View of the interior (date not known).
[August 2003]

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6. A troupe of children, perhaps a school group, on a visit to the Chantry on the Bridge. 1900 - 1910.
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7. The chapel viewed from the grounds of the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield. [2013]
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8. The front of the chapel viewed from the old Wakefield Bridge.
[December 2009]
Click to enlarge
9. Side view of the chapel from the north bank of the River Calder (Kirkgate side).
[December 2009]
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10. Wakefield Bridge and the Chantry viewed from the south bank of the River Calder.
[August 2009]

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11. Wakefield Packhorse Bridge (or Footbridge*), 1730. Located on the eastern side of the old Wakefield Bridge and just south of it, this footbridge leads to a footpath on the south bank of the River Calder. The footpath leads to Fall Ings Lock and beyond.
(* The bridge has this name on the 1851 and 1854 Ordnance Survey maps.)
[July 2011]
Click to enlarge
12. The New Wakefield Bridge with the Chantry Chapel behind on the Old Wakefield Bridge. The new bridge was built in 1929 and 1930. This was one of the many bridges built by the engineer Sir Owen Williams (1890 - 1969). Find out more about Sir Owen Williams at Engineering Timelines. (Accessed 5th September 2018.)
[Photograph October 2009]
Click to enlarge
13. The Wakefield Bridge and Stennard Island area before the new bridge was built in 1929-30. The Old Cut of the Aire & Calder Navigation was still in water.

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