Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Canterbury (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TR 15195 58337


856/3/147B NORTHGATE 03-DEC-49 (Northwest side) CHAPEL TO ST JOHN'S HOSPITAL


Found c.1085 by Archbishop Lanfranc as a hospital chapel. The S wall is late C11 or early C12, and the N wall contains the remains of late C12 chapel arcade. Reduced in size and the arcade underbuilt c.1744. Restored in the C19, when the S door was moved to the W end and the W porch built.

MATERIALS Flint and stone rubble, brick. Part timber porch. Tiled roofs.

PLAN Single-cell nave and chancel, W porch.

EXTERIOR The S side is late C11 or very early C12 in origin and was part of the S wall of the medieval hospital chapel. Heavily restored in the C19, it has a late C12 lancet and a two-light C15 window. The N side preserves evidence for part of the late C12 central arcade of the medieval chapel. Only the western bay retains its original masonry. It has a plain, pointed arch on a rectangular stone rubble pier, with stone dressings and a chamfered impost. The other two bays, including the arches and pier, have been almost entirely recreated in C16 or C17 brick except for the impost on the pier, which is C12. All three bays are underbuilt in C18 brick; the central bay has a round-headed C18 wooden casement window. The E wall was rebuilt in the C19, with considerable reused C12 masonry, and has a four-light Perpendicular-style window with vertical tracery. The W wall, also rebuilt in the C19 with some chequerboard flint work, has a stone bell support corbelled on to the gable. The C19 W porch is timber framed on dwarf stone walls. The reset W door, formerly the S door, is late C11 or very early C12 and has a round head with a band of incised lozenges.

INTERIOR The interior is plastered and painted, and is undivided. The three bays of the former C12 arcade are visible in the N wall, and have plain, pointed arches on rectangular piers with chamfered imposts. The eastern two bays are panelled to a level above the imposts, and it is not clear if they retain C12 masonry internally, or if they are C17 internally as externally. The S and W walls are also panelled to dado level, and there is an internal timber lobby. C19 roof with the main, angled braces supported on stone wall corbels.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES Very unusual font with a round, stone bowl with lug handles made from a reused medieval mortar. It stands on a slender stone shaft with a simple moulded base, possibly early C13. The cover has a large, C17 turned finial, but is otherwise very plain. Framed Royal Arms dated 1607 on the frame, but with the arms and initials of George III. A few fragments of reset medieval glass in a S window. C19 nave seating with individual arm rests between the seats. Two painted inscription boards, C19 and a probably C19 benefaction board. There are a few small memorial tablets.

HISTORY St John's was founded as a hospital for the aged, sick and poor by Archbishop Lanfranc c.1085, and was located just outside Canterbury's wall. By the late C12 it was in the form of a T, with a large dormitory running N/S and a chapel running off of this at right angles. The chapel consisted of two parallel aisles with a central arcade of six bays, and may have been enlarged in the late C12 as the arcade can be dated later in the C12 than the door. The present church is the remains of the second, third and fourth bays from the W of the S aisle of the C12 chapel, and the present W door was formerly the S door; it was reset in the C19. The hospital, presumably including the chapel, was damaged by fire in the mid-late C14. A faculty was issued c.1744 for the demolition of the N side of the church and the bell tower; it was probably at this date that the N arcade was underbuilt in brick and the N window inserted. By the late C18, the building was apparently the same size that it is today, and had a pulpit and a communion table. The present W door was on the S side, and there was an additional lancet window, perhaps C12, in the S wall. The chapel was extensively restored in the C19, when it was partially rebuilt, reroofed and refurnished.

SOURCES Hill, D. E. St John Baptist, Northgate (nd late C20) Newman, John., Buildings of England: North-East and East Kent (1976), 257 Leech, R H & McWhirr, A D, "Excavations at St John's Hospital, Cirencester, 1971 & 1976." Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Transactions, 100 (1982), 191-209 Tatton-Brown, T, St John's Hospital, Canterbury, 1084-1984. Canterbury Archaeological Trust (1984)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The chapel to St John's Hospital, Canterbury is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Almshouse chapel created from the remains of the C12 chapel of the Hospital of St John the Baptist, founded by Archbishop Lanfrance c.1085, with a late C11 or very early C12 W door, reset from the S wall, and a N wall with remains of 3 bays of the former chapel arcade of the late C12; * An interesting and picturesque reduction in size sc.1744; * Interesting C11 font, made from a medieval mortar, with C17 cover.


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

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 07 Nov 2005
Reference: IOE01/14910/25
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Ron Garvey. Source Historic England Archive
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