Building » Chideock – Mortuary Chapel

Chideock – Mortuary Chapel

North Road, Chideock, Dorset

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

A jewel-like structure built by Charles Weld, very modest in size but rich in detail and finish. 

The Arundell family, a powerful West Country Catholic family, owned Chideock Castle (destroyed in the Civil War), a refuge for Catholic clergy. In 1802 Thomas Weld of LulworthCastle and a relation of the Arundells bought the Chideock estate and gave it to his son, Humphrey. Humphrey converted a barn at the Manor into a Catholic chapel. His son Charles transformed the modest chapel into the sumptuous church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St Ignatius in 1870-2. The mortuary chapel lies in a burial ground adjoining that of the Anglican parish church of St Giles. It was also built by Charles Weld as a family mausoleum and in memory of his parents (his father died in 1852). A Latin inscription above the entrance bears the date 1857.


The list description (below) adequately describes the exterior. The material is Chert rubblestone with local limestone dressings and occasional use of Ham stone for more formal dressings. The chapel or mausoleum is in the form of a Greek cross in that all four arms are of equal length. The mandorla (Italian for almond) windows are on the west and north faces only, that to the west has Y tracery. The south side has an encircled quatrefoil. The brick and tile cross in the east wall appears later in date than 1857, as does the the crucifix or rood in the west wall (Pevsner suggests an 1880s date). The tiny interior has four Gothic arches, single chamfered, and is richly decorated with painting and tilework, especially to the dado and upper walls and undersides of the roofs. The main parts of the walls have arched panels left blank, suggesting that the scheme is incomplete. Carved stone altar with corner shafts, dogtooth, bold geometric and other decorative motifs.

List description

Mortuary Chapel. Latin inscription with date 1857. Cruciform, small and steep. Rubble stone walls with diagonal buttresses and set-offs. Plinth. Plain and fish scale slate roofs of steep pitch. Central roof, of pyramidal form; tall gabled roofs to the arms, with window-openings (e.g. mandorla) in the gables. 2 lancets in eastern arm. North doorway with shouldered arch and straight-chamfered jambs. Large cross of brick headers in east wall with lozenge stone centre with Papal insignia; Alpha and Omega. Low relief stone rood (Christ Crucified) on west wall, in quasi-late Carolingian style. INRI over and 2 doves and lamb. Foliage and nail-head ornament in the spandrels.

Listing NGR: SY4215892909

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1857

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II