St Botolph's Chapel, 280m north east of Frosterley Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016466

Date first listed: 14-Nov-1986

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of St Botolph's Chapel, 280m north east of Frosterley Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Stanhope

National Grid Reference: NZ 02522 37008


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 Botolph's chapel at Frosterley survives well and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is of particular importance as it is the most northerly church dedicated to St Botolph and is a rare example of its type. It will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the establishment and spread of the Christian Church in England.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of a chapel of medieval date, situated in the village of Frosterley on a flat site overlooking steep slopes to the south. The chapel is visible as the earthwork remains of an oval mound orientated east to west measuring 30m by 22m, surmounted by a rectangular structure 18m by 7.5m. It stands to a maximum height of 1.4m at the western end where it is best preserved. The place name Frosterley is first mentioned in the Bolden Book in AD 1183 and specific mention of a chapel at Frosterley is first mentioned in a document of AD 1346. It is thought that the chapel may have originated many centuries earlier and the discovery of a copper alloy strap end of ninth century date during house construction to the north of the chapel testifies to early activity in the vicinity. The chapel is believed to have been dedicated to St Botolph, the seventh century Anglo-Saxon saint considered to have been one of the pioneers of Benedictine rule in England. As late as 1522, the chapel was still in use, but by the late 18th century it was described as `disused' and `gone to decay'. The eastern end of the chapel was partially excavated in 1995 in advance of house construction to its north and east. The excavations uncovered the east end of a rectangular stone building standing to a maximum height of two courses. The remains of painted wall plaster survive in situ at the base of the walls. The excavation also uncovered evidence of stone robbing and several phases of demolition. Pottery of 18th and 19th century date was recovered from post-demolition deposits. Pieces of pottery ranging in date from the 11th to the 14th centuries was recovered from areas excavated to the south and west of the chapel and the remains of a possible wall were also found.

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: 28600

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Adams, M, St. Botolph's Chapel, Frosterley: Trial Excavations, (1995)
NZ03NW 15,

End of official listing