Medieval chapel at Erth Barton


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
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Reasons for Designation

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 were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship. Private chapels were built as places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Despite having been re-used as a barn, the medieval chapel at Erth Barton survives well and retains many original and rare features including traces of the medieval wall paintings, piscina and traceried window. It is a demonstration of the role of religion in a Manorial setting, indicative of feudalism and is therefore of considerable social significance. The cider making apparatus and re-use as a barn also indicates the significance of agriculture and the changing practices through time.


The monument includes a medieval chapel adjoining the south eastern corner of the manor house at Erth Barton and situated on a prominent estuarine promontory called Erth Hill, overlooking the St Germans or Lynher River. The chapel survives as a two storied rectangular building measuring approximately 9m long by 4.5m wide. It is set into a slope with an external staircase and a C19 slate roof which was restored in 1965.

Originally dating to the late 13th century, the chapel is at first floor level and has a traceried three-light east window and single-light lateral windows. A small blocked window in the south wall is a later insertion. The original doorway has been widened and is accessed via external stone stairs. Internally there is a piscina and traces of medieval wall paintings, the larger showing parts of two figures and some drapery which are probably of 14th -15th century date.

The lower floor has original blocked windows to the east and west which were formally pointed, pigeon holes, two later doorways and a cobbled floor. It was used as a cider house and still contains a granite mill and wooden press. The socket stone of a standing cross has been incorporated into the base of one corner of the building.

The chapel is also known as 'Earth Barton Chapel', and the only known medieval document relating to it dates to 1413.

The chapel is Listed Grade II (60428).

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-436603


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

Legacy System number:
CO 452
Legacy System:


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.

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