1 November 2015

Chapel

On Friday afternoon, as I was rambling near Stanage Edge, I looked down into the North Lees Valley from Bole Hill and zoomed my camera in upon the ruin you can see in the picture above. It is all that remains of an old Roman Catholic building called Holy Trinity Chapel. Long ago it served nearby North Lees Hall and was built, like numerous English churches, close to a holy "well" or spring that was venerated for hundreds of years before Christianity appeared on the scene.

Yesterday (Saturday), I decided to make a closer investigation of the chapel site. Shirley came with me instead of going shopping in the city centre. It is only ten minutes by car from our house to North Lees. We parked up near Bronte Cottage and headed north for a few hundred yards.

Sheep were grazing around the chapel, ignorant of its history but co-incidentally, as we were mooching around the ruin, a young farmer from North Lees Farm appeared at the top of his field with a sheepdog. The flock of a hundred or more were quickly rounded up and moved on to a higher pasture, leaving the old chapel to us.

Naturally, I snapped several photographs and later used the internet to research the site.

A lot of mystery surrounds it but it is thought to have been built in the fifteenth century. Its destruction - possibly in 1688 - may well have been a symptom of continuing antagonism towards The Roman Catholic religion and its influence on British life. This is essentially what The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 had been all about and there are hundreds of other examples of violent rebellion against a religion that had once dominated virtually all aspects of British society since the time of William the Conqueror whose invasion of England in 1066 had been sanctioned by Pope Alexander II.
There isn't a lot to see at the ruinous site of Holy Trinity Chapel. The destruction was pretty comprehensive but the place remains evocative in its lovely, remote setting. You sense the presence of those who once knelt here and if you close your eyes you might hear the sound of their papish prayers. Opening your eyes once more, you might wonder about the fury that once drove men to destroy churches, great abbeys and even little field chapels like Holy Trinity. And if they could do that to buildings what were they doing to their Catholic cousins?

Religion had and still has a lot to answer for. So much anger. So much killing. And all this from people who purport to subscribe to holy creeds that champion love, tolerance and prayer.

15 comments:

  1. I find something inexplicably spiritual in many of these places.
    However Iona gave me nothing. This little chapel is a grand spot.

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    1. The well meant even more to me Adrian. Legend says that local people dropped pins into the old spring to bring themselves good fortune.

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  2. These are beautiful pictures, and I am glad you made use of the good weather for your walk there with Shirley.
    Somehow I find it very fitting that the chapel is now frequented mainly by sheep...

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    1. Sheep worshipping "The Lamb of God". And their prayers go like this - "Baaaa! Baaaa!"

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  3. Religion certainly does have a lot to answer for and to...and yet it still refuses to do so!

    Happy ramblings...it looks like you don't need to ramble far to find something of interest and the peace of grazing sheep.

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    1. Are you a religious person Lee?

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    2. No, I'm not, Yorkie. I gave up believing in fairy tales after I left my early childhood.

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  4. I too wonder how in the name of whatever, people justify slaughtering each other. I still think much of that thought is just below the surface.

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    1. You are right Red. It just takes a spark to ignite that horror once more.

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  5. I was going to say the very same thing as Librarian. This is a beautiful spot. And I agree with all you said about religion. 'imagine no religion.'

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    1. One has to be careful about declaring disbelief Nan. I don't want a mob of believers coming down the street to destroy my house. After all they probably believe that Rumplestiltskin also existed..

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    2. There was just a report on the radio about a religion in NZ. http://www.jedichurch.org/ There are over 50,000 people there who are believers. And my (US) state is the second least religious in the country. Interesting times we live in.

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  6. A very atmospheric set of photos: particularly the penultimate one.

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    1. I suspect that Adrian would have done a better job of really nailing that one Graham. Surprisingly, there are very few pictures on the internet of this photogenic chapel.

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  7. Great photos ~ much better than the HDR ones in your next post.

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