The Chantry Chapel of St Mary Magdalene at Norbiton was founded by Edward Lovekyn in 1309 and is known locally as the Lovekyn Chapel.
It is the oldest complete building in Kingston Upon Thames and is Grade 2 listed. It underwent numerous renovations before it received listed status in 1927.
It is also the one remaining free-standing chantry chapel in England.
The Chapel is small, 37′ 9″ by 18′ 3″, and remains the original 14th century size, never having been extended in all its years of use. The church furnishings were removed during the Dissolution of the Chantry Chapels in 1547. The Chapel is home to a small bracket in the shape of the head of Edward III – believed to have been placed there in 1352 when the Chapel was restored by Lovekyn’s son John.
In medieval times there were several buildings that surrounded the Chapel and these appear to have been lost by the 1580s, most likely due to the Dissolution.
The Chapel is situated on the Kingston one-way system, so it’s always been somewhere I’ve known about and wanted to visit. As it’s a school building, it has belonged to Kingston Grammar School since Elizabethan times, I’ve never had the opportunity. Today, I took advantage of the Heritage Open Days events that are going on around the country and took a peek inside.
Honestly? I was expecting a chapel with pews and an altar, so to find it bare was a little surprising. Now I know it was once used as a school gym in the past and was also known as the ‘big school room’ before the school outgrew the premises. However, there is still enough of the chapel framework to make it an exciting place to visit.
At 700 years old, it is the oldest building that I have been inside in Kingston.
A History of the Lovekyn Chapel, Kingston Grammar School
Images author’s own