The historic St Edmund of Abingdon Chapel in Priory Road Dover has entered into another phase of its long life. A grant from the Coastal Communities Fund has funded restoration of the walls, wooden roof beams and improved heating and lighting.
The little chapel dates from 1253 and was originally built as a mortuary chapel for the many pilgrims who died passing through Dover on their way to the great shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. It was consecrated and dedicated by Bishop Richard of Chichester to his teacher St Edmund of Abingdon. Bishop Richard died a few days later in the Maison Dieu – now Dover Town Hall.
After the destruction of the monasteries by King Henry VIII the chapel was lost behind shops and houses. At one stage it was a blacksmith’s forge. Following the bombing during the second world war it was “found” again and identified and escaped destruction by the Dover Borough Council in the 1960s by the skin of its teeth. Eventually it was saved and funds raised to restore it. The St Edmund of Abingdon Trust manages the Chapel today and regular religious services are held there.
The work just completed will enable the Chapel to be much more widely used by the whole community and a series of concerts and other events are planned. Mr Paul Smye-Rumsby, Chairman of the Trust, welcomed a full house of local people and supporters of the Chapel to the opening event on Thursday 19th September.
The successful bid to the Coastal Communities Fund and all the work at the Chapel has been spearheaded and managed by Destination Dover – the Town Council’s Tourism Partnership with Dover Big Local and other organisations.
Councillor Sue Jones, Chairperson of the Community and Services Committee said
The opening has shown just what a fabulous venue the Chapel is for events for everyone to enjoy. The refurbishment will underpin and support the economic development and regeneration taking place in this part of our historic Town Centre.
The Trust are actively working to further develop the programme of activities at the Chapel – and if you are interested in using the Chapel for community events please contact the Destination Dover Manager, Diederik Smet at email@example.com or call on 01304 242625.
Our picture shows Mr Paul Smye-Rumsby, Chairman of the St Edmund of Abingdon Trust welcoming the audience to the re-opening of the Chapel.