Chapel of ease

Chapel of ease

A chapel of ease (sometimes 'chapel-of-ease') is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently.

St Nicholas's Chapel in King's Lynn, England's largest chapel of ease

Often such a chapel of ease is deliberately built as such, being more accessible to some parishioners than the main church. Such a chapel may exist, for example, when a parish covers several dispersed villages, or a central village together with its satellite hamlet or hamlets. In such a case the parish church will be in the main settlement, with one or more chapels of ease in the subordinate village(s) and/or hamlet(s).

Some chapels of ease are buildings which used to be the main parish church until a larger building was constructed for that purpose. For example, the small village of Norton, Hertfordshire, contains the mediaeval church of St Nicholas, which served it adequately for centuries; but when the large new town of Letchworth was built, partly within the parish, St Nicholas's became too small to serve the increased population. This led to the building of a new main church building for the parish, and St Nicholas's became a chapel of ease.

Chapels of ease are sometimes associated with large manor houses, where they provide a convenient place of worship for the family of the manor, and for the domestic and rural staff of the house and the estate. There are many such chapels in England, for example that at Pedlinge in Kent.

All Saints Church at Buncton dates from the 11th or 12th century.

Sometimes an ancient parish church is reduced in status to a chapel of ease due to a shift of population. An example is the churches of St Mary Wiston and All Saints at Buncton in West Sussex. For centuries St Mary's was the parish church (located near to Wiston House and therefore the centre of population), whilst All Saints served the nearby hamlet of Buncton, as a chapel of ease. Today, however, the resident population of Wiston is tiny, whilst Buncton has grown, so that in 2007 the status of the buildings was reversed, with All Saints becoming the parish church, and St Mary's reduced to a chapel of ease.

When two or more existing parishes are combined into a single parish, one or more of the old church buildings may be kept as a chapel of ease. An example can be seen in Palo Alto, California, where, in 1987, the six parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California in the city were combined into a single parish, Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish. As of 2007, St. Thomas Aquinas Church serves as the parish church, with Our Lady of the Rosary Church and St. Albert the Great Church as chapels of ease.


See also

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chapel of ease — Ease Ease ([=e]z), n. [OE. ese, eise, F. aise; akin to Pr. ais, aise, OIt. asio, It. agio; of uncertain origin; cf. L. ansa handle, occasion, opportunity. Cf. {Agio}, {Disease}.] 1. Satisfaction; pleasure; hence, accommodation; entertainment.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chapel of ease — Chapel Chap el, n. [OF. chapele, F. chapelle, fr. LL. capella, orig., a short cloak, hood, or cowl; later, a reliquary, sacred vessel, chapel; dim. of cappa, capa, cloak, cape, cope; also, a covering for the head. The chapel where St. Martin s… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chapel of ease —    1. a mortuary    Originally, a place of worship for the convenience of parishioners residing a long way from their parish church. Also as chapel of rest:     From undertaker tout court to funeral parlor to funeral home to chapel has been the… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • chapel of ease — Date: 1538 a chapel or dependent church built to accommodate an expanding parish …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • chapel of ease — Rom. Cath. Ch. a chapel in a remote part of a large parish, in which Mass is celebrated. [1530 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • Chapel of ease — A church founded in that part of a parish with a new population, or on *assarted land, the original church being distant from newcomers. Not all such chapels became permanent, having only temporary licences. The AS called them field churches .… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • chapel of ease — noun an Anglican chapel situated for the convenience of parishioners living a long distance from the parish church …   English new terms dictionary

  • chapel of ease — a chapel or dependent church built for the accommodation of an increasing parish …   Useful english dictionary

  • chapel of ease — A secondary church for the use of parishioners living at a distance from the principal one …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Chapel of Ease, Skinner Street —    See Ship Yard …   Dictionary of London