Sandham Memorial Chapel

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Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere.

Sandham Memorial Chapel is in the village of Burghclere, Hampshire, England. It is a Grade I listed 1920s decorated chapel, designed by Lionel Pearson as a memorial to Lieutenant Henry Willoughby Sandham, who died at the end of the First World War. It was commissioned by his sister and her husband, Mary and Louis Behrend. The chapel is surrounded by lawns and orchards, with views of Watership Down. It is now run by the National Trust and is open to the public.[1]

The chapel was built to accommodate a series of paintings by the English artist Stanley Spencer that were inspired by his own experiences during the First World War, in which he served as an orderly with the Royal Army Medical Corps, first at Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol, and then in Macedonia, where he was subsequently transferred to the infantry. He was influenced by Giotto’s Arena Chapel murals in Padua. He wanted to paint murals too, but the environmental conditions were not appropriate. The subsequent paintings were commissioned in 1923, Spencer moved to Burghclere in 1926, and the series was completed in 1932. It is dominated by the Resurrection scene behind the altar, in which dozens of British soldiers lay the white wooden crosses that marked their graves at the feet of a distant Christ. The series chronicles Spencer's everyday experiences of the war rather than any scenes of action. When the art historian R. H. Wilenski saw the recently completed sequence, he wrote of his sense "that every one of the thousand memories recorded had been driven into the artist's consciousness like a sharp-pointed nail".[2]


  1. ^ "Sandham Memorial Chapel". National Trust. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  2. ^ Haycock (2009). A Crisis of Brilliance. p. 331.


  • Gough, Paul (2006). Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere. Bristol: Sansom and Company. ISBN 1-904537-46-4
  • Haycock, David Boyd (2009). A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War. London: Old Street Publishing. ISBN 978-1-905847-84-6.

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Coordinates: 51°20′40″N 1°20′07″W / 51.34440°N 1.33520°W / 51.34440; -1.33520