Remains of 14th century chantry at Kilve


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 14644 44021


Chantry chapel and part of a manor house 610m north west of Parkhouse Farm.

Reasons for Designation

The term college is used to describe a variety of different types of establishment whose communities of secular clergy shared a degree of common life less strictly controlled than that within a monastic order. Although some may date to as early as the tenth century, the majority of English colleges were founded in the 14th or 15th centuries. Most were subsequently closed down under the Chantries Act of 1547. Colleges of the prebendal or portional type were set up as secular chapters, both as an alternative to the structure of contemporary monastic houses and to provide positions for clerics whose services the monastic establishment wished to reward. Some barons followed suit by setting up colleges within their castles, while others were founded by the Crown for the canons who served royal free chapels. Foundations of this type were generally staffed by prebends or portioners (priests taking their income from the tithes, or other income deriving from a village or manor). After 1300, chantry colleges became more common. These were establishments of priests, financed from a common fund, whose prime concern was to offer masses for the souls of the patron and the patron's family. They may also have housed bedesmen (deserving poor and elderly) and provided an educational facility which in some cases eventually came to dominate their other activities. From historical sources it is known that approximately 300 separate colleges existed during the early medieval and medieval period; of these, 167 were in existence in 1509, made up of 71 prebendal or portional colleges, 64 chantry colleges and 32 whose function was primarily academic. In view of the importance of colleges in contributing to our understanding of ecclesiastical history, and given the rarity of known surviving examples, all identified colleges which retain surviving archaeological remains are considered to be nationally important. A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels built as private places of worship by manorial lords were near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many Chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. The Chantry chapel and part of a manor house 610m north west of Parkhouse Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, function, re-use, social, religious and political significance and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a chantry chapel and part of a manor house situated on a low coastal rise overlooking Bridgewater Bay at Kilve Pill. The chapel, the solar and east and northern wings of the manor house survive as partially standing roofless buildings in places up to full height with some original windows and stepped angle buttresses. The buildings are partly attached to the hall range of the manor house which remains occupied. A further western range no longer survives. The hall range formed the focus of the building with three annexes, at least two of which were contemporary. The chapel was apparently added later. It was believed that the solar and chapel were built to provide a residence for a college of chantry priests based on a licence of 1329 in the Calendar of Patent Roll. However, these documents suggest the priests resided at a ‘messuage’ rather than at the ‘capital messuage’. This does not support the contention that the priests were actually resident in the manor house. This seems to be confirmed by the manor house retaining its status as a capital messuage until the 15th century. The manor house was the main residence of the de Furneaux family throughout the 14th century. Sir Simon de Furneaux founded a chantry in 1329 for five priests to pray for his soul ‘in Kylve church’. The licence included a house and garden. The college is thought to have ceased by the late 14th century. The manor house itself is recorded in 1242-3 and the chantry buildings are thought to form part of a period of aggrandisement by the family. From the mid 17th century it became known as the ‘Old Mansion’. Re-used as a farm house the ranges of buildings were gutted by fire in 1850. The two houses in the central hall range were converted to dwellings in 1977.

The chantry chapel and Chantry Cottage are listed Grade II* and the shelter shed by Priory Cottage is Grade II. Further surviving archaeological remains in the vicinity are not included within the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
SO 480
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-189866 and 189952


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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