St Giles's medieval chapel and burial ground, Wark on Tweed


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


Ordnance survey map of St Giles's medieval chapel and burial ground, Wark on Tweed
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014496 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Sep-2019 at 01:46:43.


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NT 82037 38764

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. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other 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, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, 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. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. 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.

St Giles's Chapel and burial ground remain readily identifiable despite having been abandoned in the 18th century. They will contain significant evidence of how they were used between the 12th to 18th centuries, including information on the individuals buried there. They will also contribute to understanding of the history of the adjacent castle and village of Wark.


The monument includes the remains of a post-Norman Conquest medieval chapel and graveyard. The chapel is situated in a shallow natural bowl between the glacial ridge, or kaim, to the south and a slight rise to the lip of the river cliff to the north. A natural gap in the kaim, known as Gilly's Nick, has been utilised as an access route; a terraced trackway leads from the south gateway to this gap and this trackway is included in the scheduling. The chapel lies approximately 280m to the west of Wark Castle. The visible remains consist of a stone built, rectangular chapel, surrounded by a graveyard set within a kite-shaped enclosure. The chapel occupies the northern part of the enclosure and is aligned east-west. The walls of the chapel survive as low banks up to 2m wide and up to 0.4m high, the chapel has a chancel 13m wide, and a broader nave, 17m wide. It is at least 25m long, although the western end wall does not survive above ground. The chapel is surrounded by the burial ground, referred to in 1823 as `the burial ground at Gilly's Nick`. Two gravestones are visible in the area immediately to the east of the chapel. One of these, which is Listed Grade II, is a medieval grave slab bearing an incised cross and two other symbols, now very weathered, but which were identified in the mid-18th century as being two swords. The other gravestone is a partly buried headstone of probable 18th century date. The northern wall of the graveyard enclosure is 42m long, the southern wall is 15m long, the east and west walls are 40m and 38m respectively. There are opposing entrances near the centres of the north and south walls. The enclosure walls are up to 0.8m thick and survive up to 0.7m high. The chapel of Wark belonged to the priory of Kirkham. This priory had been founded by Walter l'Espec, who also founded Wark Castle in the early 12th century. The chapel is believed to have served the castle and village of Wark on Tweed. It is dedicated to St Giles, the patron saint of beggars, which has been taken to explain its siting at a distance from the settlement, outside the castle walls.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Wallis, J, The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland, (1769)
RCHME, Survey of St Giles Chapel, Wark on Tweed at 1:500, (1992)
RCHME, Survey of St Giles Chapel, Wark on Tweed at 1:500, (1992)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].