Silkby Chapel remains, Butt Lees


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Silkby Chapel remains, Butt Lees
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Jul-2019 at 20:47:44.


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

North Kesteven (District Authority)
Silk Willoughby
National Grid Reference:
TF 05281 42994

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.

The remains of the medieval chapel of Silkby survive in the form of buried archaeological deposits. After going out of ecclesiastical use in the post-medieval period the building survived in agricultural use, with the result that its remains have not been overlain by later structures and archaeological layers will therefore survive largely intact. The buried remains of the chapel building and the enclosure in which it stood will preserve valuable evidence for religious and social activity in a small community in both the medieval and post-medieval periods.


The monument includes the buried remains and associated archaeological deposits of Silkby Chapel, a stone chapel constructed in the medieval period in association with the former hamlet of Silkby, which lay to the west. The building went out of ecclesiastical use in the post-medieval period when the settlement was depopulated, and was converted into an agricultural building; it was finally dismantled in the 19th century.

The remains of the chapel are situated approximately 430m west of St Denys' Church on the north side of School Lane. In the south west part of the monument is a raised building platform over 8m square, standing about 0.5m above the level of the surrounding field and sloping gradually away to the north and east. Fragments of building material, including limestone rubble and tile, are visible in the topsoil and in the hedge bank which runs along the north side of the lane. Aerial photographs suggest that the chapel lay within an enclosure extending nearly 50m northwards from the lane, formerly bounded on the north by a field of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation and on the east by an area of open ground extending towards the Folk Moot, part of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery which formerly separated the settlements of Silkby and Willoughby.

Documentary sources indicate that the chapel was a rectangular building of stone construction with pointed windows. Building remains suggest that in the medieval period the roof was tiled, although in the early 19th century, immediately before it was dismantled, it is known to have been thatched. The chapel is represented on Speed's map of 1610. The manor of Silkby formerly lay adjacent to the west of the chapel enclosure, while the remainder of the hamlet extended beyond it. Following the depopulation of Silkby the area of the settlement was included with that of Willoughby, which was centred upon St Denys' Church to the east, and together they became known as Silk Willoughby.

The Bronze Age barrows to the west known as Folk Moot and Butt Mound are the subject of separate schedulings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

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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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