Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery Chapel


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Cemetery Royal Naval Cemetery Chapel, Clayhall Road, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 2BE


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

Location Description:
Cemetery Royal Naval Cemetery Chapel, Clayhall Road, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 2BE
Gosport (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Chapel of rest, 1859.

Reasons for Designation

The Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery Chapel of Rest, 1859, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: for its place in the naval history of the development of Haslar, Gosport, and Portsmouth and particularly with the burial of military personnel; * Architectural quality: a compact, well-composed building of good-quality materials, construction, details and mouldings; * Group value: with the listed cemetery monuments, and with the numerous highly-graded listed naval structures in the wider vicinity.


The Royal Naval Cemetery, Halsar, also known as the Clayhall Cemetery, opened in 1859 to provide a new site for burials of patients from the Royal Naval Hospital. Although the need for a burial ground must have been foreseen, no provision was made when the hospital opened in the mid-C18 and burials were made indiscriminately on unconsecrated ground to the south-west of the hospital. Burials included not just patients from the hospital, estimated at something approaching 1,000 a year in the late C18, but also those brought ashore from ships, as well as other military personnel. Such burials continued until 1820 when a newly appointed superintendent reformed the system, and a formal cemetery was laid out in the hospital grounds. This burial ground was used from 1826 until 1859, when the demand for space led to the purchase of additional land, on a detached site further west, for the laying out of a new cemetery.

The cemetery chapel was located centrally within the new cemetery. Plans for the building indicate that as originally laid out the chapel provided a central space for services, with an altar and pews arranged to the side, a small vestry and a porch. There are some notable differences between the detail of the surviving building and the design drawings, suggesting that there was a minor reworking of the design after the surviving drawings were completed. The cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester in 1859.


Chapel of rest, 1859. MATERIALS: the chapel is built from red brick laid in Flemish bond with blue brick detailing, limestone dressings and tiled roofs. The window frames are metal.

PLAN: the chapel stands with the liturgical west end facing south, in line with the main entranceway and path into the cemetery. It consists of a three-bay nave, with a vestry on the west (liturgical north), and a porch on the south (liturgical west).

EXTERIOR: the building exhibits a strict uniformity of architectural devices across the elevations. The windows are narrow, Romanesque lancets with deep moulded stone cills, recessed brick architraves and blue headers that adjoin cill and impost bands of blue brick. Rafter feet project beneath the eaves and there is a plinth emphasised by offset blue brick.

The west end has a central pitched roofed porch with a wide Norman-style arch with billet, chevron and dog-tooth mouldings and head stops. It has brick buttresses at the angles with stone offsets, and there are stone kneelers to the gable which has a course of blue brick at the eaves, and stone copings. The return elevations each have two blue brick-lined porthole windows. Above the porch on the west gable end are three windows, the central one of which is taller. At the apex to the gable is a stone bell cote with a cross finial and dog tooth mouldings to the arched opening, which contains a brass bell.

The three bays of the nave are articulated by buttresses; each bay has a single lancet. The east end has three windows, as per the west, and buttresses at the angles. The vestry is a pitched roofed range with a pair of lancets on the gable.

INTERIOR: the nave is a single open space with a red, buff and black tiled floor; a break in the pattern denotes the line of the altar. There is a timber reredos of three Gothic-arched panels with simple mouldings, and a timber pulpit with a round-arched screen on which a lectern with scrolled, foliate wrought iron brackets is attached. Pews are freestanding. The vestry door is in a moulded Romanesque archway, and has fielded panelling. The roof is matchboarded beneath A-frame principal rafters with chamfered edges, supported on moulded corbels.


Books and journals
Tait, W, History of Haslar Hospital, (1906)
Clayhall Cemetery, Haslar Heritage Group, accessed 05/03/2015 from
Parks and Gardens UK, Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport, England, accessed 14/10/2015 from
Design drawings for the Cemetery Chapel, Historic England Archive, Swindon ref MD95/2774-2782


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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