John F Matthew, 1949-52. Scottish Arts and Crafts chapel with tower, built in commemoration of Robin Tudsbery. Fine interior decoration and stained glass scheme, Sadie McLellan. Squared and coursed rough-faced sandstone rubble (Doddington, Northumberland). Bold, roll-moulded eaves course. Round-arched openings.
W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: wide gable end. 3-bay arcaded loggia spanning at ground with round columns and block imposts, sunburst voussoirs. Fine 2-leaf timber doors to chapel within with carved inscrpition to lintel. Cross window in gablehead above with sunburst
dressings. Decorative wrought-iron weathervane with robin motif, Thomas JG Beveridge.
E ELEVATION: narrow gable end with tall round-arched window.
S ELEVATION: 6-bay. 3 advanced bays to left with low wallhead and roof swept down, 2 round-arched windows. 3 main bays to right with high, round-arched windows.
N ELEVATION AND TOWER: 6-bay. High round-arched window to wide outer left bay. Tower in penultimate bay to left, D-plan with narrow slit windows to stairs and door with decrative wrought-iron balcony below wallhead to N and S sides; semi-conical roof, with crowsteps to inner gable.
Covered walkway abutting W end bays of N and S elevations and continuing into covered porch of Ballachulish slates to roofs, stone ridges.
INTERIOR: barrel-vaulted space with aisle, side chapel opening to nave with screen of 3 round arches on square stone pillars, gallery above narthex, raised plinth for Communion Table. Panelled dado and wainscot, latter with pie-crust coping; heavy cornice at wallhead, with carved angels terminating. Winding stone stair to tower, entered through vestry door and overlooking chapel through round-arched opening with balustrade. San Stephano marble flooring (2 shades) . Altar sited to act both as such and as Communion Table; crafted in Botticino and San Stephano marbles, on green slate base, panelled face carved with prayer of King Henry VI. Fine wrought-iron door and church furniture by James Finnegan of Charles Henshaw's firm, such as hinges, handles and balustrade over vestry, and fine Eagle Lectern. All woodwork in figured oak, with fine carvings by Thomas Good of Edinburgh, notably the animal figures on the pew ends, flanking the reading desk, to sides of Minister's desk, and rose and thistle frieze to choir stalls.
Corbels of pillars each carved with heraldic badge to 1 side, and low relief friezes depicting nature or hunting, by Maxwell Allen of Edinburgh. Font in side chapel, rose aurore marble, replica of that in Old Church of Chelsea. Barrel ceiling figures carved oak bosses disguising ventilators, depicting carved initials surrounded by natural foliage. Fine wrought-iron candelabra.
Stained glass: unified scheme by Sadie McLellan, 1951-54. E window showing youthful figure regarding Deity, above battlefield grave. W window crucifix shape. Remaining 9 windows depicting scenes from life of Christian in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
ENTRANCE GATES AND GATEPIERS: 2-leaf, wrought-iron entrance gates closing entrance drive, with thistle motif at centre of each gate, and with railed gatepiers crowned with spray of thistles. Almost certainly by Thomas J G Beveridge.
Statement of Special Interest
An inter-denominational chapel, still in use as such, built to commemorate Robin Tudsbery, the only son of Sir Francis and Lady Tudsbery, who was killed in the closing stages of the Second World War, and to provide the centrepiece of the Thistle Foundation estate, the village for disabled ex-servicemen, commissioned by the same. Sir Francis wrote fulsomely on his belief in ecumenical worship in the Chapel's commemorative book.
The Memorial Stone was laid by Queen Elizabeth on 5th September 1950, as a carved stone by the main door declares. The stone comes from the Doddington Quarries in Nothumberland. A portrait of Robin Tudsbery as a boy hangs in the side chapel.
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