Friday, 15 May 2015

The Wayside Shrine of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag

Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Knaresborough Yorkshire


Carved out of the rock face alongside Abbey Road, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire,
 and measuring only twelve feet by eight by seven feet high, 
is the charming Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag .

For centuries this wayside shrine was a place where pilgrims could call, find peace and make quiet prayer. Today it is owned by Ampleforth Abbey and run as a 'Marian' shrine (a holy place dedicated to the Virgin Mary) by a volunteer group.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Knaresborough Yorkshire

Built in 1408 by someone named in a Royal Charter as 'John the Mason,' who, legend has it, built the shrine after his son miraculously survived a rock fall in the nearby quarry. This is purely conjecture, but it was almost certainly used as a chapel by the workers of the large quarry that provided stone for the construction and ongoing repair of nearby Knaresborough Castle.

The Chapel was very popular with pilgrims and visitors in the 17th and 18th centuries and was often confused with another nearby cave, occupied by the 12th century hermit, Saint Robert.

Wood sculpture by Tommy Craggs Knaresborough
The area is full of caves...and other things! (Wood sculpture by Tommy Craggs)

The relief carving of the knight to the right of the doorway probably dates from the late 17th or early 18th century, but may possibly be much earlier. There is strong evidence that the head was remodelled in Victorian times.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Knaresborough Yorkshire
Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag
Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Knaresborough Yorkshire
Medicinal herb garden to the front of the Chapel

Inside the Chapel, there is a carved altar, a vaulted ceiling, roof bosses and gargoyles. When built, the Chapel was on the route that lead to Knaresborough's priory, which was destroyed during the reformation.

Ivy clad tree in Nidd Gorge, Knaresborough
Ivy clad tree in Nidd Gorge, Knaresborough

The Volunteer Group who care for the Chapel, have continued to raise funds to improve and maintain it, and if you would like to offer any help, details and further information can be found from the link below. There are also some photos of the interior.

Viaduct and riverside Knaresborough
Viaduct and riverside Knaresborough
  
The Chapel is open 2-4pm on Sundays, in the summer, and is just one of the many interesting things to see in Knaresborough, which is well worth a prolonged visit....
There's a great walk in the links below, which passes the chapel and the wood sculptures.


Thanks for reading!

Toni

Justbod Team


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