St Edmund's Chapel
Dover's Chapel of St Edmund of Abingdon
St Edmund's Chapel is probably the smallest church in England still in regular use. The chapel was consecrated in 1253 by Richard, Bishop of Chichester, who dedicated it to his friend St Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had died in 1245 and was canonised in 1247. Richard himself was canonised in 1262 thus St Edmund's Chapel is the only church still in existence that was dedicated to one English saint by another.
St Edmund's Chapel stood in what was once a cemetery and it was probably intended for use as a chapel of rest. It was certainly used for this purpose for the burial of Richard, who just three days after the dedication ceremony in 1253, fell ill and died in the Maison Dieu. His body lay in rest in the chapel before being returned to Chichester Cathedral for burial. His internal organs were removed and buried in a cist under the Chapel Altar, where it can still be seen.
The chapel had various uses after it was suppressed in 1544 during the Reformation, including, during the late 19th Century, use as a Blacksmiths forge. In 1965 it was saved from demolition by a group of private individuals who purchased the chapel for preservation. The Chapel was restored and re-consecrated for worship in 1968.
Over three-quarters of the chapel is original and the remainder has been restored using medieval materials including flagstones from Faversham Abbey and Altar stones from Canterbury Cathedral.
Priory Road was once, approximately, the boundary between St Martins Priory lands and the lands of the Maison Dieu. After the Reformation the land to the west became farmlands. The old farm and the ruins of the Priory began to disappear after 1847 when Effingham Crescent was built.
- Free entry
- Open to the public every Wednesday from 13 May-16 September from 10am to 2pm.