Keld Chapel


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Keld Chapel
© 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.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 55371 14508

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.

Despite some internal modifications associated with the monument's conversion to a domestic dwelling, Keld Chapel survives well and remains a good example of a late medieval/early post-medieval small rural chapel.


The monument includes Keld Chapel and its associated churchyard and surrounding wall. It is located at the north east end of Keld hamlet between Keld Lane and the access track to Thornship. The date of construction of Keld Chapel is unknown; it may have been a medieval chantry chapel of the nearby Shap Premonstratensian Abbey or it may have been a simple chapel of ease with no connection to the abbey. The first documentary evidence referring to Keld Chapel records a christening here in 1672. Towards the end of the 17th century the chapel ceased to be used for religious purposes and was converted into a house. In 1897 the building was repaired and during the 20th century it was passed to the National Trust.

Keld Chapel is constructed of limestone rubble with a slate roof. The oldest masonry is thought to be the 16th century north east window which has three elliptical-headed lights with a reset moulded label of earlier date. In the north west wall are two square-headed windows, the eastern of two lights the western of one light, together with a doorway with chamfered jambs and a modern head. In the south east wall are two windows similar to those in the north west wall; further south is a blocked window thought to be of 18th century date. Internally there is a cross wall with a fireplace and chimney stack inserted at the time the chapel was convereted into a house. A recess has been set into this cross wall immediately south of the fireplace. A small triangular area, thought to be the churchyard, lies on the chapel's north east side surrounded by a drystone wall. The chapel is a Listed Building Grade II.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These include all internal fixtures and fittings including pews, benches, altar table, a chair, a wooden chest and the National Trust plaques on the wall and door and the donation box set into the wall, although the door and wall behind the plaques and surrounding the box are included.

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:
Legacy System:


Paper held by Nat Trust, Grasmere, Hawkins, H, Keld Chapel - Was it a Chantry?,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)


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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