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CHAPEL OF ST MARY MAGDALENE

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Stourbridge Chapel, which is dedicated to St Mary Magdelene was built in the 12th century. At the time of this record’s amendment in 2012 it was unknown who built or founded the chapel. The chapel was built to accompany a hospital for people with leprosy, which had ceased to exist by 1279. The chapel later came into the hands of the monastery of Ely and its land was leased by the Bishop of Ely to the Corporation of Cambridge in 1544, released by Elizabeth I in 1597 and were granted to John Shelbury in 1606 by James I. The chapel’s survival is credited to its secular usage in connection to the Stourbridge Fair. It was given to Cambridge University in 1816 and underwent restoration in 1867 by Gilbert Scott. In 1951 the University gave the chapel to the Cambridge Preservation Society.

The chapel contains some unusual architectural features for the period in which it was built. The building consists of a chancel and nave and is made up of ashlar and flint pebbles with later brick patching. There are dressings made of Barnack or Weldon stone and the roof is covered with tiles. The chancel features shafts with scalloped capitals and two string-courses with a billet ornament and an axe-work ornament of vertical and diagonal lines. The nave features jamb-shafts with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. The mid-12th century chapel remains and consists of the chancel and nave only. It was altered c.1400 and restored in 1867.

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