The Hanging Chapel and a medieval gateway at The Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019290

Date first listed: 03-Dec-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jun-2000


Ordnance survey map of The Hanging Chapel and a medieval gateway at The Hill
© 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 - 1019290 .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 19-Jan-2019 at 23:42:13.


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

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Langport

National Grid Reference: ST 42333 26746


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

Reasons for Designation

A gate chapel is an ecclesiastical structure of medieval date closely linked with, or built directly over, a town gate. This relationship between a chapel and a gate was an important one in medieval times when prayers would be offered at the gate chapel upon safe arrival at the town or upon setting out on a journey. Such chapels were popular with merchants and tradesmen arriving at a new town and hoping for good fortune in their dealings; for this reason gate chapels are sometimes associated with town guilds. Despite restoration in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Hanging Chapel is a standing building which survives well with a good deal of its medieval fabric remaining. It is sited above a medieval gateway at a major route into Langport from the east. Documentary records of the 14th century indicate its association with the medieval guilds of the town and the Hanging Chapel will retain archaeological and architectural evidence relating to the construction and use of gate chapels. It is one of only a few surviving examples of this type of chapel which have been recorded in England.


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


The monument includes a medieval chapel sited over an arched medieval gateway. The gateway spans the road on the crest of The Hill, a steep incline leading from Langport towards Huish Episcopi approximately 1km to the east. The chapel, known as the Hanging Chapel, dates from the 14th century and is built of square cut local lias stone with a clay tiled pitched roof between coped gables with ball finials. It is surrounded on its north, east and west sides by a walkway which has a coped stone parapet and is reached by an external flight of steps located in the corner of the south west facing wall of the gateway. A 19th century stone extension with a flat roof has been attached to the south side of the chapel at a lower level. Access into the chapel is through a pointed arched doorway set into the west wall. Internally few additions, partitions or alterations have been made, despite its varied subsequent use. The chapel and gateway are Listed Grade I. The chapel sits above a barrel-roofed archway which is aligned from east to west and similarly constructed from local lias stone with plain end walls which have chamfered arches at each end through which traffic still passes. The east facing wall is buttressed. Two small niches are carved into each wall of the archway: one is located high in the north wall and probably held a statue in medieval times; the other, a pointed recess in the centre of the south wall, is reputed to be the window of a cell which is thought to have been located below the Hanging Chapel. The arched gateway was built on the site of what may have been an original break in a defensive bank of Saxon date which has been demonstrated by excavation to have existed on this side of the town. The bank is almost certainly that which defined the eastern boundary of the town in Saxon times when Langport was one of a number of burhs listed in the early 10th century Burghal Hideage (a Saxon list of fortified places). The recognition that the town did not extend beyond the bank appears to be confirmed by the use of the line of the bank as a parish boundary. The chapel is first mentioned in 1344, as the Guild Chapel of St Mary to whom it is still dedicated. It has had a variety of uses, becoming the Town Hall in 1570, a grammar school in the 18th century, and a Masonic Lodge from 1891. The brick built feature attached to the north wall of the archway structure, the paved walkway below it and the flight of steps attached to the west wall are not included in the scheduling. The road surface and its makeup beneath the archway is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included. Internally, all modern fixtures and fittings are excluded from the scheduling.

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: 33713

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Somerset - Langport, (1974), 35
Graham, A H, Archaeological Investigations N of the Hanging Chapel, Langport, (1996)
Langport CP, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest,
Mr R Webb, Lodge Secretary,

End of official listing