St. Catherine’ Chapel
Built in the latter part of the 1300s, the beautiful chapel on the hill survived the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century simply because of its location. Overlooking Chesil beach in Abbotsbury this fine building was allowed to remain so that it could be used as a lighthouse. High in the tower you can still see where the lights would have been placed.
After parking in the village we took a walk. We knew we wanted to visit the chapel, however we became distracted by the other buildings and another church with an impressive graveyard, which happens to be one of my favourite things to photograph. So we found the chapel from a more unconventional route which saw us hiking up Mount Everest to get there, well, it all helps keep you fit!
Once atop the hill, the chapel sits lonely and windswept on a high hill, the views you are rewarded for your scramble are simply breathtaking, a full vista of sea and sky over sheep dotted fields.
The chapel, built from local golden limestone has 4ft thick walls and is so solid the roof is even made of stone. I imagine destroying it would have been a complete pain in the backside which probably swayed the decision to keep it for ‘other uses’.
Whilst it’s run by English Heritage there is no need to pay to get in, surrounded only by a simple fence, presumably to keep the sheep and cattle out, access to the building is unrestricted. Enter in through the door facing the village and get a sense of the space inside. The only modern fixture in the building is the large windows facing south are filled with modern materials in order to keep the weather from permeating the internal structure.
From here it is an easy walk down (aren’t all walks downhill?) and we took a side sojourn to the beach which I am saving for another post.