‘At Risk’ Bolton Abbey Chapel Saved


Renovation of the Chapel at the Priests House, Barden Tower Completed

Historic Yorkshire Dales Chapel Re-opens

Barden Chapel, at risk of being lost to the nation, has been saved, reports Debbie Leathley.

The unique facility will form part of the Priest House proposition at Barden Tower which sits at the northern end of Bolton Abbey Estate. As such, the Chapel will now be removed from Historic England’s “Buildings at Risk Register”.

Barden Chapel restoration bolton abbeyThe Chapel, which is thought to have last been used in the 1950s, was originally built by Henry Clifford the 10th Lord of Skipton at the turn of the 16th century. His father, who was fighting for the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses, feared for his well-being, so sent his son to live in the Cumberland hills. Henry returned and chose to make his principal residence at Barden rather than Skipton. He extended the Tower considerably and, at the turn of the 16th Century, developed the Priest House and Chapel.


This cluster of buildings is of great historical importance: Three Grade 1 Listed Buildings on a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Hunting Tower was originally one of six in the Forest of Barden and the seat of Administration where Forest Courts would have been held.  Ben Heyes, Estate Manager says it has been an ambition of the Estate to bring the Chapel back into use. Working closely with Historic England, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the building contractor William Anelay and the tenant Debbie Leathley, this has now come to fruition.

The sensitive restoration, complete with bespoke wrought iron lighting, original leaded windows and rood screen, ensures the integrity of the 16th century building has been retained.

The Chapel is also licensed for wedding ceremonies for up to 80 people.

images: Dave Cropper


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