28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The Secret Chapel of Benwick
Here we have a small hidden Chapel next to a large Rectory that was once part of a now demolished Church.
Explored around Oct 2021 where I filmed and photographed to share with you all. Was on my way to another location and stopped here just for a look as I knew of the Rectory from scouting the area months before but had no idea that the chapel was there until this visit, mostly due to it looking like an over grown garage, including an abandoned car that was now gone on this visit. It was a rushed job as I wanted to get back to my original destination and despite its abandoned looking condition, I couldn’t be sure if the main Rectory building was still lived in so couldn’t enjoy it as much as I could have but I may well be one of the first to visit here.
A little history.
Built as the Rectory for the St Marys Church of Benwick. Situated opposite at a site to the north, it was constructed just after the Church in 1869-70. It is of the Gothic revival style, with polychrome brickwork and an angular, complex roof style. These are all hallmarks of the notable Victorian architect Samuel Sanders Teulon who also constructed the church which was sadly demolished in 1985 because of subsidence. Only some walls and the graveyard remain.
The Chapel appears on maps alongside the rectory so dating to around the same period as the other buildings and kept some interesting original features such as the windows, however has since been renovated/extended at some point to include a garage. The Rectory remains relatively dilapidated and unmodernised, maintaining its Gothic features, original style timber fenestration and the surrounding, undeveloped land maintains its prominence and significance.
Found this place as I dove by the main road opposite and saw the building sticking out above the trees. Saw it was unmodernised and missing roof tiles so had to stop and scout it out. Finding out about the building was difficult as there was no clear address, so it took me a while to locate any history, despite the history of the church being well documented. I eventually found planning information, and saw it was sold by the Church in the past but still no idea if the main building is lived in or when last used.
Going in as always solo. Was easy to park up on the street opposite then walk down the open but dark due the shading of the trees, short drive. The Rectory stands imposingly at the end of the drive looking out to the large and grand garden. In its day the garden would have looked lovely but it is now overgrown and unloved.
Access to the chapel is down and around the side of the Rectory. At first it looks like an ivy coved garage and as you go into the garage area there are a few benches, tools and old pots. From the front you can see there is another second floor above with no clear route of access to it. Also, at the front there is a bramble covered door that may lead to another area that I never got to see. It’s not until you go round the back do you see the significance of the building. Only one way round the side to the back and through some wooded area. As you come round the ivy covered back can spot 3 doors, the far door leads to the Chapel. Was fully expecting the door to be closed but as you get near it was wide open.
At the entrance was a few old sinks, tables and odds and ends.
To the left is where I spot that it’s not just a random old garage. Stepping over a hole in the floor and turning into the dimly lit room I see the that the light is creeping in through some old, cobwebbed Lanceted Windows that Cleary belongs to a church building. The old doors and timber roof shows this must be part of the old church.
The room was full of clutter, a torch was needed to see the old hoovers, tools and odds and ends.
Going back outside to the ivy floor and up to the middle door, it must be the way up to the second floor but this door is sealed shut by bramble, ivy and a pile of dirt.
Further up is another door and a peak in here shows you it’s the outside loo and nothing more. From here there is nothing more to see, unless you want to see the old ruins of the old church and graveyard that lies at the bottom of the garden and is open to the public.
The car that was originally there on my first vist 6 months previously was now missing so someone had been.