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Beeston Chapel

Sandy is a large parish and includes a number of hamlets. One of these is Beeston and the village seems to have been regarded as part of the parish of Northill in the early Middle Ages. In 1305 there was an agreement between Sandy and Northill that certain houses listed in the parish of Northill, presumably around Beeston Green, owed their tithes to Sandy and the inhabitants ought to go to Sandy church to receive sacraments and be buried [P9/3/1].

It is interesting that the inhabitants were directed to attend Sandy church as it is known that there was a chapel in Beeston as the previous year, 1304, it is mentioned in the Episcopal Register of the Diocese of Lincoln. However, the chapel is identified as a "chantry with Bell Turret and Chancel" rather than a chapel of ease. Chantries were chapels in which a priest said masses for the dead for their founder and his family. The theology of the medieval Roman Catholic church held that these masses shortened the time a soul spent in Purgatory, a kind of painful limbo between Heaven and Hell in which souls were sent to be purged of their sins before being allowed into Heaven.

A chapel of ease was designed to serve the spiritual needs of a community which was too far from the parish church to attend it conveniently but Beeston chapel does not seem to have operated in this way. No more is known of this chantry which, presumably, fell into disuse before Henry VIII (1509-1547) dissolved the apparatus of the Roman Catholic church in England in the 1530s and 1540s including monasteries and all chantries as there is no record of a chantry at Beeston at the time. Where the building stood is unknown, presumably it stood either on Beeston Green or somewhere on the Great North Road in the vicinity of the cross which is known from the name of the later inn which was called The Cross.