KCC Logo

Record Details

It should not be assumed that this site is publicly accessible and it may be on private property. Do not trespass.

Monument details

HER Number:TR 03 NE 12
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Medieval Chapel, Post-Medieval Manor House


Chapel (remains of); C16th Manor House (site of)

Grid Reference:TR 09023 35211
Map Sheet:TR03NE

Monument Types

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1005148: Chapel at Court-at-Street; Scheduled Monument KENT 177

Full description

If you do not understand anything on this page please contact us.

(TR 09013520) Chapel (NR) (rems. of) (1) The remains of the chapel of Bellirica are situated on the slope behind the Manor Farm at Court-at-Street and consist of a roofless ruin 23ft by 41ft, which appears to be early C16th. Other structures, probably the Manor House, adjoined the chapel and the foundations can be seen a few inches below the surface. (2) It is certain that "in mediaeval days there existed a fortified manor house, [and] a church or chapel" at Court-at-Street, but by the beginning of the C16th the chapel was in decay and was the abode of a hermit. From 1525, the Chapel of Our Lady enjoyed a revival of fortune connected with Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent, and became a place of pilgrimage. [It would appear from this that Erwood's tentative early C16th dating (2) is a rebuilding or renovation connected with Elizabeth Barton]. (3) Bellirica Chapel is a roofless ruin; the north wall has gone and the SE corner has been completely rebuilt. The remaining walling stands to an average height of 2.1m and the west doorway and a stoup are still identifiable. With the exception of a short stretch of nondescript walling extending south from the SE corner for a distance of 5.0m, of evidence of other buildings was seen. GP AO/62/293/3 - west door from west 4 - general view from north west. (4) No change. (5) Remains of a chapel at Court at Street. There are two builds. Late Perpendicular west doorway. Ragstone. (6) Leland (1535 - 1543) calls the chapel Our Lady of Court-up-Street for the houses in Bellirica that now remain. (7,8)

From English Heritage Records Office:

Ruins of single cell building, c28ft x 40ft internally, with 4 centred W door and holy water stoup, detail early C16. N wall completely decayed, others stand 7ft or more. E part of the S wall and about 2/3 of the E wall, including a blocked chancel arch, are in smaller rubble and the remains of a previous, narrower two-celled building, probably C12.
Chapel is celebrated for its connection with Elizabeth Barton, the holy Maid of Kent, born 1506. Description above still appliesexcept that 2 of the 4 sectors of the W door lintel, any sign of the blocked chancel arch and holy water stopup have vanished. Much damage was caused during the 2nd World War when the army constructed a machine gun post immediately to the S of the chapel and pulled down stone from the walls to act as comouflage.
N side of the W wall still contains a holy water stoup and there are traces of springing of chancel arch in E wall but only the outer sections of lintel above W door survive and the architectural detail is very weathrered.

From the NHLE:

Summary of Monument

Bellirica Chapel, 150m south of Manor Farm
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. 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.

Bellirica Chapel survives well with appreciable upstanding medieval fabric. It includes some significant architectural details such as the holy water stoup, the west doorway and the springing of the chancel arch. The site will contain archaeological information relating to the construction, use and history of the chapel.

See Details

This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval chapel, known as Bellirica Chapel, surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated near the top of an escarpment overlooking Romney Marsh at Court-at-Street.

The chapel is a single cell building constructed of ragstone with at least two phases of building evident within the walls. It is approximately 14.5m long by 8m wide. The chapel is now roofless but the walls survive up to an average of 2.1m high, although much of the north wall is no longer standing. The west wall contains a Late Perpendicular four-centred doorway, although only the outer sections of the lintel survive, and, in the north side, a holy water stoup. In the east wall are traces of the springing of a chancel arch. The east part of the south wall and much of the east wall are in smaller stone rubble, which is thought to form the remains of an earlier 12th century, two-celled, building. Much of the chapel was rebuilt in the 16th century. Bellirica Chapel is likely to have been a chapel of ease to a nearby manor house. The remains of walls and foundations of a possible manor house have been recorded just to the south. The chapel is associated with Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent, and became a place of pilgrimage from the 16th century onwards.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.(15)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> Arch Cant 41 1929 149-51 illust (F C Elliston Erwood) (OS Card Reference). SKE35096.

<3> Trans R H S New Series 18 108-110 (A D Cheney) (OS Card Reference). SKE50658.

<4> F1 CFW 22-NOV-62 (OS Card Reference). SKE42710.

<5> F2 ASP 01-DEC-69 (OS Card Reference). SKE43070.

<6> DOE (IAM) AMs England 2 1978 111 (OS Card Reference). SKE40696.

<7> The Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 395 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE50234.

<8> MHLG Elham Rural District 1960 29 (OS Card Reference). SKE47119.

<9> DOE (IAM) Sams 1988 Kent 20 (OS Card Reference). SKE40770.

<10> Field report for monument TR 03 NE 12 - November, 1962 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5084.

<11> Field report for monument TR 03 NE 12 - December, 1969 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5085.



<14> CBA Defence of Britain Project, 1994, Defence of Britain Site Report, Report by Paul Tritton of Kent Defence Research Group (Bibliographic reference). SKE6447.

<15> English Heritage, Register of Scheduled Monuments (Scheduling record). SKE16191.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 41 1929 149-51 illust (F C Elliston Erwood).
<3>OS Card Reference: Trans R H S New Series 18 108-110 (A D Cheney).
<4>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 22-NOV-62.
<5>OS Card Reference: F2 ASP 01-DEC-69.
<6>OS Card Reference: DOE (IAM) AMs England 2 1978 111.
<7>OS Card Reference: The Buildings of England West Kent and the Weald 1980 395 (J Newman).
<8>OS Card Reference: MHLG Elham Rural District 1960 29.
<9>OS Card Reference: DOE (IAM) Sams 1988 Kent 20.
<10>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 03 NE 12 - November, 1962.
<11>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 03 NE 12 - December, 1969.
<12>Photograph: GENERAL VIEW OF BELLIRICA CHAPEL AT LYMPNE FROM NORTH WEST. OS62/F293/4. Black and White. Negative.
<13>Photograph: NORTH WEST DOOR AT REMAINS OF BELLRICA CHAPEL AT LYMPNE. OS62/F293/3. Black and White. Negative.
<14>Bibliographic reference: CBA Defence of Britain Project. 1994. Defence of Britain Site Report. Report by Paul Tritton of Kent Defence Research Group.
<15>XYScheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments. [Mapped feature: #496 Ruined building, ]

Related records

TR 03 NE 199Part of: Pillbox adjoining Chapel and Manor House at Court-at Street (Monument)