At the heart of the Palace is The Bishop’s Chapel, a place where prayer and worship have been offered over the centuries. Visitors of all faiths and none are welcome to pause and be refreshed by the ancient peace of this sacred place.
This simple, graceful building is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and St. Mark. The unusual dedication is depicted in the modern icon by Silvia Dimitrova which stands to the side of the altar. Built by Bishop Robert Burnell at around the same time as the adjoining Great Hall in the late-thirteenth century, the windows are surprisingly large for the period and the tracery in them is an exceptionally fine example of the Early English style. The roof bosses are of naturalistic foliage and bizarre animals painted in traditional medieval colours.
The Chapel was restored by Bishop George Henry Law in the nineteenth century. In the windows he used fragments of French medieval glass from churches in the Rouen area, which were destroyed in the revolutionary era.
The pews are early-twentieth century and were carved by apprentice craftsmen from around the diocese. A keen eye can spot the names of their parishes carved into the woodwork.
The Chapel was re-ordered in 2006. The new altar, made of maple and Ancaster stone, was designed by David John and made by Richard Richardson. The altar stands above engraved stone work by John Rowlands Pritchard, with the text, ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; and has given us the ministry of reconciliation’. (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Reconciliation is an important theme in the Chapel. The five icons behind the altar tell the Biblical story of God’s reconciling love for humanity throughout the ages. The Celtic knot under the altar also reflects this symbolism.
The Chapel is a place of living worship, where the Bishop, Palace staff and visitors come for times of prayer and reflection. Candles and prayer cards mark the passage of pilgrims and other guests. All are welcome to pause here.
Tuesday at Noon. A short time of prayer and praise at 12 noon. All are welcome.
There are occasionally other services open to the public. Please check the web site for details.
Last admission to The Bishop’s Palace, and therefore including the Bishop’s Chapel, is one hour before closing.