The Old Hall, North End, Osmotherley, North Yorkshire
Lady Chapel above village
The building in which the chapel is housed has a plain eighteenth-century frontage and is one of the larger structures in the village. The importance of the chapel lies not so much in the restrained Georgian architectural qualities of the building, but for over three centuries of Catholic witness that has taken place there. Its historical significance is considerable.
The building housing the chapel was given to the Franciscan Friars in 1665 by Lady Juliana Walmsley. She was closely related to a number of distinguished Catholic families. A prime motivation was, as it was said in 1695, to provide a house ‘for performing duties [i.e. saying Mass] for the benefit, devotion and comfort of pilgrims’ to the Lady Chapel above the village (an early sixteenth century structure restored in 1959-61, photo above). The house was then known by the name it still bears, ‘the Old Hall’. The Franciscans reroofed its chapel in 1736 and remained until 1836 when they withdrew due to a shortage of vocations. The chapel was then served from Stokesley until 1969, when the Franciscans returned. They renovated the chapel, giving it the form it has today. In 1993 the Francisans left Osmotherley once more and were replaced by a community of Benedictine monks from Ampleforth from 1 January 1994.
The chapel is located on the top floor of the sandstone-built, three-storey Old Hall. The northern two-thirds of this storey are occupied by the chapel itself which stretches from the front to back of the building; the other third is occupied by a pair of vestry rooms and the staircase. The exterior of the chapel bears no signs of its purpose, as is to be expected. The external stone staircase from the garden is of relatively recent origin. The front windows of the chapel are vertically sliding sashes of the same design to the others on the street façade. The side windows are three horizontally sliding sashes. The building has a hipped, pantile roof.
The interior of the chapel was laid out after the Franciscans returned in 1969 and the position of the altar was reversed (now at the street (i.e. west) end). The roof structure with its three A-frame trusses is visible and may date from the reroofing of 1736.
House and Catholic chapel. Late C18 with C17 origins. Ashlar with pantile roof. 3 storeys, 3 bays. Deep plinth with chamfered coping. Central 6-panel door with overlight in doorcase of pilasters, frieze and cornice. This is flanked by 16-pane sashes. Upper floors have sashes with glazing bars. All windows have stone sills and flat stucco arches. Remains of C17 window surrounds visible to sides of present windows. Moulded stone cornice. Shaped kneelers, moulded coping, end stacks. Left return has stone steps up to chapel on second floor.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1650
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II