Sunday, September 9, 2012

Snape Castle Chapel

Yes Harry Potter fans, we hit paydirt on one of our recent excursions. We visited the town of Snape, which has a castle with a chapel. The town is rather small and the chapel serves the townsfolk. No Snape family was to be found; it's only the name of the town.

Snape Castle

The site of the castle probably had a manor house since the mid-1200s. That building was demolished in the 1420s. It was replaced with a crenelated home for George Neville, Lord Latimer of Snape and Danby. The castle was briefly under the care of King Richard III when one heir was still a minor. A later Lord Latimer of Snape, named John Neville, was the second husband of Katharine Parr of Kendal. They were married for ten years. He died in 1542 and she married a third husband, King Henry VIII. She outlived Henry (lucky for her, considering the poor track record for his previous five wives) and married Lord Thomas Seymour in 1547. She died in 1548 after childbirth.

The estate wound up in the hands of the Cecil family, though they concentrated their wealth on Burghley House in the south. Snape Castle fell into ruin with only one wing still in use. That wing was divided into two houses in the early 1800s and only reunited in 2003. The chapel on the second floor has remained in use by the Church of England Diocese of Ripon and Leeds since 1926 and is run as a Chapel of Ease for St. Michael's parish in the nearby town of Well.

We came down a path from the road to the back of the castle, though further ruins indicated that the chapel was really in the middle of the castle.

Jacob begins the journey

Get me to the church on time!

Ruined tower

More ruined tower

The door leading up to the chapel

The chapel itself is quite small but warm and inviting. The ceiling was painted in the 1600s by Antonio Verrio with a scene from the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, by the 1800s (when the chapel was used to store grain and rape-seed) the ceiling was failing apart. Nothing remains now but the bare plaster ceiling.

Snape Castle Chapel

Main altar and reredos with scenes from Christ's Passion

Jacob preaches from the pulpit

Jacob didn't really preach. In fact, when Lucy wanted to climb up, Jacob asked me if it was okay. He wanted to ask someone for permission before going up. A lady was in cleaning and she said it was fine. He was surprised at the top to find no book to read from.

The stained glass is vibrant. Many oak panels and statues depicting biblical themes are found in the church.

Ascension over the main altar, c. late 1800s
St. Peter at the front of the church

St. Paul with sword (either a reference to Ephesians 6:17 or his martyrdom, possibly both)

The Annunciation

St. Peter at the back curing...

...the cripple in Acts 31:1-8

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