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Church Micro 5905...Wicken Bonhunt

A cache by jojorox Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 06/10/2014
1 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

St. Helen's Chapel, Wicken Bonhunt


A simple church micro at an incredibly important religious and historical site

Chapel of St Helen (also St Helen’s Chapel) is an ancient religious building in Wicken Bonhunt, north-west Essex. It
dates from around the 11th century and is believed to be one of the oldest surviving buildings in the east of England.
It has also been described as 10th century.[3

Pevsner's Essex architecture guide of 1954 describes it as: "A complete Norman chapel of nave and chancel with a number
 of original windows".

The chapel is at Bonhunt Farm, on the B1038 (Newport to Buntingford) road and close to a motorway flyover for the M11.

The Grade II listed, thatched chapel is mainly built from flint and pebble but also contains roman tile and pudding stone.
 A sarsen stone has been used to support the corner of the chapel. Later Norman additions were imported dressed stones
and then brick when the chapel became a storage shed.It contains two 12th-century windows on the south and west walls and
 was extensively restored in the 13th century and again in the 20th.

It is 37.5 feet (11 m) long and less than 15 feet (5 m) across at its widest point, with the nave being considerably

Surviving records of the chapel’s history list the names of three of its priests, including Miles in 1248. In 1340, there
is a record that land was given to the nearby Hospital of St Mary and St Leonard in Newport to pay for a priest to hold a
daily service at the chapel. The chapel was dissolved in 1543 and left vacant.

History has not always been kind to the chapel. The RCHM's 1916 survey, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex,
 records it as desecrated and in use as a stable, although it does describe its condition as fairly good.

Extensive restoration took place around 1918, presided over by the then owner of Bonhunt Farm, and architectural features
were carefully preserved. By the 1930s, it was once again being used as a shed.

A major middle Saxon settlement found near the chapel in 1967 was excavated in the early 1970s, during construction of the
 M11. It showed signs of prehistoric (described as "presumed late Bronze Age" in a British Museum report), as well as
Norman, activity and included a burial ground around Chapel of St Helen containing over 200 human remains. The Saxon
settlement is considered to be associated with the chapel.

The chapel is now maintained, and is part of the Diocese of Chelmsford.[11] An annual service is held at the chapel, led
by a team of volunteers from Wicken Bonhunt.

The chapel is often left open and the landowners are happy for you to have a look around but please being respectful of
the site and nearby residents.

For full information on how you can expand the Church Micro series by sadexploration please read the Place your own Church Micro page before you contact him at

See also the Church Micro Statistics and Home pages for further information about the series.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

onfr bs cbfg

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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