LEIGH

Wiltshire

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The Chancel

The Chancel

It may be small, but it is still a real church on consecrated ground with room for a congregation (albeit in single figures).

 

One service is held at the Grade II* building annually, usually in July.

 

Since the year 1250, this used to be the location of the parish church. But in 1896 it was decided by the local church authority - despite campaigns from various individuals and groups including the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings - to dismantle the religious building close to the Waterhay track in The Leigh, and move it to a more accessible location next to the village school on Swan Lane.

This process involved numbering each stone individually, loading them onto carts, taking them on a half mile journey and then reassembling the building on the new site. The name of the church, All Saints, was unchanged.

For some reason, part of the thirteenth century building was left behind - and that is what remains at The Chancel today. The site can be accessed by walkers all year round (suitable clothing may be required).

As you can imagine, a decision requiring such man-power over a hundred years ago would not have been taken lightly, and was weighed up as the most practical solution for saving the church, which had fallen into a bad state structurally and was difficult to access in the winter months because it is enclosed by marshy ground.

The surrounding graveyard has been left undisturbed. It is home to an abundance of wild flowers, shrubs and wildlife. In  the summer you can find orchids and quaking grass with dozens of varieties of moths and butterflies.

Poldark

To millions of Poldark fans, this derelict old chapel is known as The Old Meeting House.

But yes, it is indeed our very own Chancel!

Filming took place in the winter of 2017, and the building made it’s first appearance on our screens in 2018.

Poldark is mostly filmed on location in Cornwall, however several sites local to us have been regularly used, including Chavenage House near Tetbury and the Royal Agricultural University buildings in Cirencester.

Getting There

You'll only find this fascinating building if you're on foot, hidden away on soggy farmland. Heading south on Waterhay look for signs to The Chancel. It has also been referred to, quite aptly, us ‘The Lonely Church’.

The building has unfortunately been prone to vandalism recently, so is usually closed. All are welcome to attend the annual service - check the events page of this website for more information.

 

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