Skip to main content

Scheduled Monument record MDR4210 - North Lees Chapel (remains of), North Lees, Outseats

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

A little below North Lees Hall (SMR 11318) are the ruins of a small chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Built in 1685 by the Roman Catholics and demolished by the Protestants in 1688. The west wall is still standing, with its round-headed doorway, as is the arch of the east window, re-erected in about 1852. (1) Remains at SK 2334 8356. See ground photograph. (2) Chapel at North Lees erected for Catholic worship in 1685 and sacked by Protestants soon after. Thirty feet long, stone, now roofless ruin except for round-headed doorway. Listed building, Grade II. (3) A ruined building near North Lees was once thought to be the Roman Catholic chapel built in Hathersage in 1685 but is now thought to be pre-Reformation, if a chapel at all. (4) North Lees Chapel is a Scheduled Monument. The monument includes the small, ruined Roman Catholic chapel, and an area surrounding the chapel ruins that contains loose masonry and possible buried archaeological remains. The chapel comprises a single rectangular building of 13m by 6.7m. The building stands on sloping ground on an earthen platform, revetted at its western end. It has been incorporated into the junction of later field boundaries. The date of the original building on this site is not known. One source claims that the chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was built in 1685 in the reign of James II by the Eyre family and was subsequently destroyed during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. However, this version is disputed by another source, which states that the chapel may date from the pre-Reformation and was last used by Richard Fenton, the last Catholic owner of the estate in around 1590. Fenton was a persecuted recusant who retired to North Lees in 1576. It is possible that the 16th century chapel fell into disrepair, although subsequent owners may have used it as a domestic chapel. The present buildings of North Lees Hall (SMR 11318) are thought to have been constructed in 1594: the location of the previous buildings is unknown but may have been closer to the chapel. By the early 19th century, North Lees have become an attraction for visitors interested in 'gothic mysteries' and Charlotte Bronte also stayed here in 1845. The setting for the novel Jane Eyre is thought to have been based on North Lees. North Lees Chapel is particularly important as the only surviving monument of its type in the Peak District National Park, and the remains of Roman Catholic field chapels are rare nationally. If, as seems likely, the chapel dates to the 16th century, it would provide a good archaeological record of the period. Despite the chapel being in a ruinous state, all foundation levels survive and much archaeological information may well be preserved beneath the debris from collapsed fabric. (6) Photographic record. (7-8)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1877. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. II. p 253.
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 JB 23-SEP-65.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HR) Bakewell RD July 1963 44.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. p 291.
  • <5> Index: NDAT. 1654. 1654.
  • <6> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification. 29792. Cat. No.: 389.
  • <7> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Black and white photograph collection. 1994: 498.14-16.
  • <8> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 1994: 11317.1-19.



Grid reference Centred SK 2333 8355 (28m by 31m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR608
  • EDR1340

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Sep 26 2019 11:57AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.