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Chapel of Ease, Guyhirn - - 177532.jpg
Chapel of Ease, Guyhirn
Grid reference: TF399041
Location: 52°37’1"N, 0°4’1"E
Post town: Wisbech
Postcode: PE13
Local Government

Guyhirn is a small village near the town of Wisbech in the north of Cambridgeshire. The village sits on the northern bank of the River Nene, in the fenland.

Guyhirn is found at a junction of two major "A" roads, where the A141 leaves the A47.

The Nene at Guyhirn

Origin of the name

It has been suggested that the name may be a hybrid, a combination of guie, "guide" and hyrne, "angle, corner." With the tide flowing up the river as far as the village, it must always have been a critical point in the drainage of this part of the fens. It was nearby, at Ring's End, that John Morton, Bishop of Ely, erected his Tower House for the effective supervision of his new drain. Long before the construction of Morton's Leam the meeting here of fresh and salt water probably led to the construction of works for the safe guidance of their flow at this corner.[1]

Chapel of Ease

Also known as "Guyhirn Old Church" or "Guyhirn Puritan Chapel", the chapel is a small rectangular building constructed of brick and Barnack stone, with five windows of clear leaded glass set in stone mullions.[2]

Designed at the end of the Cromwellian]] Commonwealth]], the chapel was not completed until 1660 when the Restoration had returned the bishops to the Church of England in place of the Puritans’ Presbyterian organisation, and because of this the Chapel was probably never consecrated.

Following the Restoration, the Chapel was adopted by the Vicar of Wisbech St Peter until 1854, when Wisbech St. Mary was created a separate parish. The area around the Chapel was consecrated as a burial ground by the Bishop of Ely in 1840. In 1871 the Chapel moved into the newly created parish of "Guyhirn with Rings End". It was then used for services until the new church of St. Mary Magdelene was built in the village in 1878. From then onwards the Chapel was rarely used and functioned as a mortuary chapel.

By 1960 the building had become derelict and unsafe, and the last service was held in November that year. Due mainly to the initiative of then Vicar of Guyhirn, Reverend Donald Dickinson, 1971 saw the rebirth of the Chapel. The Redundant Churches Fund was approached and the church restored. In July 1975 the chapel was re-dedicated by the Bishop of Ely.

In 1973 the "Friends of the Guyhirn Chapel of Ease" was formed under the presidency of Sir John Betjeman, the Poet Laureate, who on his death was succeeded by well-known author Edward Storey.[2] The Chapel is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.[3] It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Guyhirn)