Blakeney Chapel

Blakeney Chapel is a ruined building on the Norfolk coast of England. It was probably not a chapel, and is not in the adjoining village of Blakeney, but in the parish of Cley next the Sea. The building stood on a raised mound or ‘eye’ on the seaward end of the coastal marshes, less than 200 m from the sea. It consisted of two rectangular rooms of unequal size, and appears to be intact in a 1586 map, but is shown as ruins in later charts. Only the foundations and part of a wall still remain.

About Blakeney Chapel in brief

Summary Blakeney ChapelBlakeney Chapel is a ruined building on the Norfolk coast of England. It was probably not a chapel, and is not in the adjoining village of Blakeney, but rather in the parish of Cley next the Sea. The building stood on a raised mound or ‘eye’ on the seaward end of the coastal marshes, less than 200 m from the sea. It consisted of two rectangular rooms of unequal size, and appears to be intact in a 1586 map, but is shown as ruins in later charts. Only the foundations and part of a wall still remain. The surviving ruins are protected as a scheduled monument and Grade II listed building because of their historical importance, but there is no active management. The ever-present threat from the encroaching sea is likely to accelerate following a realignment of the River Glaven’s course through the marshes. The land on which the building stands was in the possession of the Calthorpe family until its purchase by banker Charles Rothschild in 1912. Rothschild gave the property to the National Trust, which has managed it since. There is no public access to the site. The whole of the marsh forms part of the 7,700-hectare North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its internationally important wildlife value. The area is now additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area and Ramsar listings, and it is part of Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The original map disappeared in the 19th century, but a number of copies still exist. In this map, the building on Blakeny Eye is show as intact and roofed, but it has no name. Some maps, including Faden’s, show a second ruined chapel across the Glaven on Cley, but no other documentation exists for that building. An early religious church was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book at Esnuterle, but the 11th-century church’s location is unknown. An anonymous booklet published in 1929 states that there was a ‘chapel on the site of the ease of ease’ on April 20th, but the document seems to be based on a Patent Rolls of 2043, which simply states that it is simply a local Convent. The ruins stand on the highest point of Blakesey Eye at about 2 m above sea level. Most of the structure is buried, only a 6 m length of a flint and mortar wall being exposed to a height of 0. 3 m prior to the excavation of 2004–05. The Eye is a sandy mound in the marsches that is located inside the sea wall at the point where the Riverglaven turns westward towards the sheltered inlet of Blakey Haven. Despite the name, Blakesy Eye, like most of the northern part of this area, is actually part of Cly next the sea, the area is called Cley Eye.