Heritage Open Day: Lovekyn Chapel
Sunday 22nd September, 10am - 2pm
Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history, offering visitors the chance to see sites and venues that are not normally open to the public.
On Sunday 22nd September, Lovekyn Chapel will be open from 10am to 2pm for visitors to come inside, view archive photographs and learn more about its history. The Chapel is a Grade II* listed medieval chantry chapel and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Built in 1309, it is the oldest complete building in Kingston upon Thames and the only remaining free-standing chantry chapel in England.
Lovekyn Chapel was constructed by Edward Lovekyn, Bailiff of the Borough, under license granted by Edward II. It marked the entrance to the town of Kingston and was originally used as a place of private worship for the Lovekyn family. Following Edward Lovekyn’s death, the building fell into disrepair.
In 1352 Edward’s son, John Lovekyn, received Royal consent to re-endow the Chapel. He was a wealthy and influential man, Master of the Fishmongers’ Company and four times Lord Mayor of London. Following John’s death in 1368, the Chapel was strengthened by a generous bequest from Sir William Walworth, the second husband of John Lovekyn’s widow. Walworth was also Lord Mayor of London who, together with other officers loyal to King Richard II, captured and killed Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381.
The Chapel was deconsecrated after the dissolution of the monasteries and a school was founded on the site in 1561 under royal license from Elizabeth I, marking the beginning of Kingston Grammar School. The Chapel remained as the site of the school until the construction of the London Road building in 1878 . The Chapel continues to be used by the school today for music lessons and performances, and the names of Lovekyn and Walworth are commemorated as the names of two of the school’s houses.
This event is free of charge and no booking is required.