In our line of work, estate chapels are not too uncommon (see A-listed Castle & Chapel) but a commission for a new build estate chapel is much rarer.
Our client purchased a coastal estate in the West Highlands and as part of a programme of enhancements and development on the estate wanted a private chapel. He wanted something similar to St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle or the nearby chapels of Iona.
The estate is associated historically with one of the lesser known Celtic saints and a community of monks from Iona was established here in the middle ages although no remains are now visible.
The chosen site for the chapel sits at the boundary between field, forest and sea – just far enough away from the house to be private, just far enough away from the sea to be dry. It sits within a small enclosed garden which forms a transition between the wide open outdoor space and the small intimate space inside.
The proposed chapel is a small and simple Romanesque form with decoration reserved for the entrance and the chancel arch. The proportions are simple with a combination of square, golden rectangle and circle. The decoration mixes conventional Romanesque detailing with Celtic key patterns in a probably unique way which is both true to the architecture and references the Celtic monastic history of the place.
The construction will be completely traditional with massive stone walls and a stone barrel vault and half-dome built by a master mason experienced in such structures. The stone is being sourced from the same quarry as was used for the chapels on Iona. We will be collaborating with other crafts people and artists on the furnishings and fittings.
All consents are in place and the building has now been pegged out on the ground with work starting imminently.