Guyzance (or Brainshaugh) Chapel near Acklington


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1006579

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1932


Ordnance survey map of Guyzance (or Brainshaugh) Chapel near Acklington
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Acklington

National Grid Reference: NU 20831 03132


Guyzance Chapel, 220 NNW from Bank Top Cottages.

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. Some chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie 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. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, 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 sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

The shell of Guyzance Chapel NNW from Bank Top Cottages is preserved with substantial portions of masonry upstanding. The chapel was part of a medieval priory. Priories made an important contribution to medieval life and are important to our understanding of the close inter-relationship between social and religious aspects of life in the high Middle Ages. The structure of the monument and the ground beneath it will contain archaeological deposits relating to its use, construction and abandonment.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 May 2016. 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 the remains of a chapel of medieval date, situated on level ground on a bend in the River Coquet. The chapel is rectangular in plan and measures 18.6m by 4.8m internally. The chapel was once divided into equal halves representing the nave and the chancel. The walls of the chapel are constructed from rough dressed stone with a rubble core and are roughly 0.8m thick. The north wall is the most well-preserved standing to a maximum height of approximately 4m. The building contains two distinct phases of construction with the nave being late 11th– 12th century and the chancel 13th-14th century. The north wall contains a 12th century doorway, now bricked up and the west wall has 13th century windows. There are the remains of a similar window in the south wall where the remains of a 14th century window and piscina also lie.

Guyzance chapel was originally part of Guyzance, or Brainshaugh, Priory of St Wilfrid, which was founded between 1147-1152 by Richard Tison for Premonstratensian Canonesses. It is thought to have been abandoned at the time of the Black Death and later became a cell for the Premonstratensian Abbey at Alnwick. It was dissolved in 1539.

Parts of the chapel walls were incorporated into a post-medieval enclosure wall, which was built to enclose the grave yard and to protect the site from stone robbing. The floor of the chapel contains post-medieval flagstones and there is a 19th century grave slab at the western end. Guyzance Chapel is a listed building Grade II*.


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

Legacy System number: ND 82

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:- 8078

End of official listing