Medieval chapel and enclosures 570m north west of Wheal Freedom


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019213

Date first listed: 10-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval chapel and enclosures 570m north west of Wheal Freedom
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1019213 .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 11-Dec-2018 at 00:49:35.


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

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Agnes

National Grid Reference: SW 69757 49601


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.

The chapel and enclosures 570m north west of Wheal Freedom survive reasonably well. Although the walls of the chapel have been reduced in size, and there is limited modification for the addition of a post-medieval structure, substantial earthworks remain. Structural remains of the chapel will survive below ground, as will original deposits associated with the chapel, and the underlying old land surface. The location, on a cliff top and close to a spring formerly used for a holy well, illustrates clearly the important role of topography in the siting of medieval chapels.


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


The scheduling includes a medieval chapel and enclosure, remains of an adjoining enclosure, and a post-medieval building overlying the east corner of the chapel. The scheduling is situated on a shelf of a steep west slope above a stream gully on the cliff east of Chapel Porth. A 10th century date has been suggested for the chapel's foundation, which is closely associated with the site of a holy well beyond this scheduling, in the bottom of the gully. The chapel lies near the centre of an enclosure on a platform levelled into the slope. It is sub-rectangular in plan, orientated south west-north east, and measures about 7.3m by 2.9m internally. The west end of its north west long wall is visible as an earthwork 3.4m long by 2m wide and 0.9m high on the outside, 0.4m high inside. A mound 4.9m long east-west by 3.4m wide, adjoining the later building on the east, is thought to be part of the chapel's north corner. The south east long wall is visible as an indistinct earthwork up to 1.9m wide and 0.2m high. The sub-rectangular enclosure closely surrounding the chapel and sharing its orientation measures approximately 16.9m north east-south west by 13.2m north west-south east externally. It is bounded by a scarp up to 3m high in the slope on the north east and south east sides and by an earth and stone bank averaging 2.6m wide and 0.6m high on the north west and south west sides. Internally it is levelled to produce a platform sloping gently south west. A gap 0.8m wide near the centre of the south west bank is considered to be an original entrance. Remains of a further enclosure associated with the chapel are visible as a scarp in the moderate natural slope 5.5m long and 0.3m-0.5m high, curving north west from the levelled cut of the chapel enclosure to the edge of the natural shelf above the stream gully. The east of the chapel and its surrounding enclosure is modified by a post- medieval sub-rectangular building, considered to be a store or shelter. It measures 3.9m north east-south west by at least 2.2m north west-south east internally. The roofless ruin has stone faced banks or walls on the south west and north west sides, cutting off the corner of the enclosure. The entrance, to the north, is 0.7m wide at the base, broadening above as the scarp slopes away. A linear hollow 0.4m wide and 0.1m deep along the top of the scarp on the north east of the enclosure may have been designed to take runoff water from the slope above away from this structure.

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.

Legacy System number: 32924

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Borlase, W, Parochial Memoranda, (1750), 37
Mattingly, J, 'The Poly, Magazine of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society' in Pre-reformation holy wells in Cornwall, (1998), 8-11
Mattingly, J, 'The Poly, Magazine of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society' in Pre-reformation holy wells in Cornwall, (1998), 9,10
Tonkin, T, 'History and Antiquities of Cornwall' in History and Antiquities of Cornwall, , Vol. 2, (1702), 175
Warner, R B, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Rediscovery of the Chapel at Chapel Porth, St Agnes, , Vol. 4, (1965), 41-43
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1879 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1906 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing