Grant a major boost for chapel project

A GRANT of £158,490 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has given the City of Wells Almshouses a major boost for

their project to restore the Bubwith Chapel.

The project will develop and transform the chapel making it both a visitor destination in Wells and an important community space in the city. The restored chapel will provide a continuing place of worship, mindfulness and contemplation, and a warm space for activities to reconnect older residents and local community groups as well as hosting concerts, recitals, lectures, workshops, seminars and rehearsals.

The project has already received support from Mendip Communities Fund, The Blair Foundation, Wessex Water and community backing through a sponsored walk by Trustee Chris Vigar, as well as investment from the City of Wells Almshouses themselves.

Lottery Heritage Funding means that work on restoring the medieval chapel to full use can now begin.

Stewart Cursley, Chairman of the board of trustees, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players – we have been developing plans for some time and are delighted to have the opportunity to restore the Bubwith Chapel and to ensure this building retains its original purpose as well as becoming a vital part of Wells’ community landscape and an important place for people to connect.”

Since the 1400s the City of Wells Almshouses have been supporting those with housing needs in Wells.

With five almshouse buildings on either side of Priest Row, the Trust provides housing for older people with a housing need in the very centre of the city.

The Bubwith Chapel was built in the early 15th century. Originally called St Saviour’s Hospital, it was established to support some of Wells’ poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

The Chapel has not been greatly altered since its inception. It is a Grade II* listed building of national importance. However, aside from a weekly service, this historic gem has been largely hidden from public view.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support this project, which thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will restore this Grade II* listed building.

“When it was built in the 15th century, Bubwith Chapel was an integral part of its community and it’s fantastic that its restoration will once again create space and opportunities to bring the people of Wells together.”

Picture: City of Wells Almshouses Trustees Chris Vigar, Sarah Powell, Stella Ainsworth, James Fane-Gladwin and Philip Welch; residents Maureen, Reg, Peter and Mo; Louise Lappin-Cook, and Caroline Tollworthy