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Staunton Harold Chapel (Holy Trinity)
(written by the Editors)

    The Chapel stands on the edge of the ornamental lake hard by the Hall, and is remarkable for being one of the few churches built in, and surviving from, the Commonwealth Period. It is also extremely interesting architecturally being in late mediaeval style with a tower. One would like to know from where the masons came who were to construct and carve its stonework in the tradition of church building of 200 years before. The whole composition, and its setting, is most beautiful. It was built by Sir Robert Shirley who died as a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1656. There are two inscriptions to the memory of his work and defiance of Puritan rule -- over the entrance:-

In the yeare: 1653
When all thinges sacred were throughout ye nation
Either demollisht or profaned
Sir Robert Shirley Barronet
Founded this Church
Whose singular praise it is
to have done the best thinges in ye worst times
And
hoped them in the most callamitous
The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance

     Inside, the second inscription says Sir Robert Shirley Baronet founder of this church anno domini 1653 on whose soul God hath mercy. It is sad that he did not live to see the triumphant conclusion of his noble vision.
     The Chapel was finally completed with its fittings in 1665. These and the furniture are in Jacobean style, including box pews with their original brass candlesticks, and altar cloth and cushions in purple velvet. The nave ceiling painted with clouds is signed Samuel Kirk 1655. The later screen is probably by the famous ironworker Robert Bakewell of Derby and is early 18th century. The National Trust now owns the Chapel. It replaced an earlier decayed one according to Nichol's Leicestershire


EXTERIOR OF
STAUNTON HAROLD CHAPEL
LEICESTERSHIRE

INTERIOR OF
STAUNTON HAROLD CHAPEL
LEICESTERSHIRE

STAUNTON HAROLD CHAPEL AND HALL, SKETCH BY ANN BOULTBEE, 1993


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Updated 4 October 1999 RHB