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Tebworth Chapel

The Old Chapel November 2014
The Old Chapel November 2014

Volume 57 published by Bedfordshire Historical Record Society in 1978 includes an article and list of medieval chapels in Bedfordshire by the late Dorothy Owen. She noted that there was a chapel of ease in Tebworth run by the canons of Dunstable Priory from at least 1277. Tebworth is some way from the parish church in Chalgrave so such a chapel was very sensible.

Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire published in 1912 adds the detail that services were held three days a week. The chapel and its visiting canon were supported by 36 acres of land given by the parishioners of Tebworth to the priory.

The chapel is not mentioned in surviving records between 1286 and 1549. At the latter date it is described as ruined and this ruinous structure along with one acre of land, were given, along with the advowson of Chalgrave, by the Crown to William Smith and his son.

Despite the decay of the medieval chapel the idea was so sensible that in 1889 a new chapel of ease was established in Tebworth, probably on a different site, adjoining the National School. It was dedicated to Saint Mary. The following inventory of the chapel was made about 1901 [P114/28/25] when it had:

  • one silver chalice;
  • one silver paten;
  • one brass altar cross (given by the Vicar in 1901);
  • two pairs of candlesticks (given in April 1901);
  • one pair of brass vases (given in 1901);
  • three china vases (give in April 1901);
  • one large Bible (given in 1901);
  • one American organ purchased in 1901 for £21;
  • one credence table, purchased in 1901.

This structure was in use into the late 20th century. The latest set of parochial church council minutes currently [2014] held for the parish show that the building was still in use for ecclesiastical purposes in 1957 [P114/32/1]. It was then converted into a dwelling, which survives.