Site of St Martin's Chapel, Ekeney; 680m south east of Petsoe Manor Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Site of St Martin's Chapel, Ekeney; 680m south east of Petsoe Manor Farm
© 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.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 92296 48763

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 chapel of St Martin will provide important information regarding the history and development of the chapel together with its relationship with the medieval hamlet of Ekeney. The chapel will contain buried evidence for features such as the nave and chancel. It may also include evidence for the location of features, such as the font, vaults, screens and shrines. The buried remains will include information relating to the layout and fabric of the chapel and include evidence of rebuildings and modifications which will assist in dating changes through time. Any evidence of fixtures and fittings will provide insights into the status of the medieval chapel. Artefacts yielded may include architectural details, fragments of sculpture, voussoirs and mouldings, as well as painted wall plaster and window glass. Although it is unclear whether there is a burial ground associated with the chapel it is possible that burials will survive both within the nave and around the chapel and these will provide information relating to the medieval community.


The monument includes the buried remains of the medieval chapel of St Martin, located on a broad plateau some 4.5km to the south east of the village of Emberton, on the course of the River Great Ouse. The site of the medieval chapel lies in the south west corner of a large cultivated field, approximately 680m to the south east of the now abandoned Petsoe Manor, and about 550m to the north west of the site of the medieval hamlet of Ekeney. The building platform, marked as a slight mound on early Ordnance Survey maps, remains visible as a distinct soil colouration which measures roughly 40m square. In 1733, although the chapel was long since demolished, the outline of the structure remained visible as a single aisle, about 18 paces long and 7 paces wide on an elevated platform in what was then St Martin's field. The field in which the chapel stands is marked on the 1772 map of the Petsoe and Eckney Estates as Great St Martins. Over the years building stone and roof tile have been recorded on the site of the chapel. The remains of the hamlet of Ekeney to the south east of the chapel were levelled and extensively ploughed prior to 1980, leaving only the partial remains of a moat. The hamlet consisted of the moated manor, sited in a field known as Ekeney Orchard, together with a number of crofts and tofts which are believed to have fallen into disuse by about 1340. The hamlet is not included in the scheduling. It is possible that the much of the hamlet of Ekeney had fallen into disuse in the mid-14th century. The list of rectors of St Martin's chapel, Ekeney, runs from 1246 to 1411. After this the chapel was united with Petsoe Church and the list of rectors for Ekeney cum Petsoe runs from 1459 to 1736. It is recorded that by 1560 Ekeney Chapel was no longer standing and that when the church was demolished, the chancel was carefully taken down and re-erected as the chapel on the south side of the chancel of Stoke Goldington church. A tombstone at Grange Farm, west of Petsoe, believed to date from the 13th century, is said to have been ploughed up from near the site of St Martin's chapel.

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.

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Books and journals
Chibnall, A C , Beyond Sherington, (1979), 129-134
Ratcliffe, O , History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, (1900), 165-167
Title: Plan of Petsoe and Eckney Estates Source Date: 1772 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: BRO


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.

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