Hampshire Cultural Trust

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Holy Ghost Ruins, Chapel Hill

The burial ground on Chapel Hill dates from the period of the Interdict, when King John and all of England was excommunicated by the Pope, and burials could not take place in consecrated ground. The excommunication was lifted after six years in 1214, and the cemetery was then consecrated and a chapel, dedicated to the Holy Ghost, was built. The 13th Century building was greatly enlarged in 1524 by Lord Sandys of The Vyne, when he added the Chapel of the Holy Trinity to the south side of the chancel.

It is the ruins of this later Perpendicular building which is the subject of this photograph. Only a relatively small section of the western end of the original chapel survives. Although the ruins are now a listed building and Ancient Monument the Chapel of the Holy Trinity has clearly suffered some erosion since the earlier photograph was taken. The tower has lost a few courses of stonework and the tracery of the window immediately to the right has disappeared. The ivy has been removed to help protect the remaining stonework.

Although the yew tree is known to be slow growing that in the left foreground of the later photograph was only a bush when the earlier one was taken. The yews behind the chapel have also increased their size considerably.

Perhaps the biggest visual change is the removal of the tombstones and monuments. In the 1950s and 1960s many burial grounds suffered the indignity of having their stone grave markers uprooted and used as paving stones in the interest of easy maintenance.