Chapel of Ease, Guyhirn
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Guyhirn is a village near the town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the northern bank of the River Nene, at the junction of the A141 with the A47. The population is included in the civil parish of Wisbech St Mary.
Origin of the name
It has been suggested that the name may be a hybrid, a combination of guie, "guide" and hyrne, "angle, corner." With the tide flowing up the river as far as the village, it must always have been a critical point in the drainage of this part of the fens. It was nearby, at Ring's End, that John Morton, Bishop of Ely, erected his Tower House for the effective supervision of his new drain. Long before the construction of Morton's Leam the meeting here of fresh and salt water probably led to the construction of works for the safe guidance of their flow at this corner.
Chapel of Ease
Also known as "Guyhirn Old Church" or "Guyhirn Puritan Chapel", the chapel is a small rectangular building constructed of brick and Barnack stone, with five windows of clear leaded glass set in stone mullions.
Designed at the end of the Cromwellian Commonwealth, it was not completed until 1660 when the Restoration had returned Anglicanism as the official religious observance and because of this the Chapel was probably never consecrated.
Following the Restoration, the Chapel was adopted by the Vicar of Wisbech St Peter until 1854, when Wisbech St Mary was created a separate parish. The area around the Chapel was consecrated as a burial ground by the Bishop of Ely in 1840. In 1871 the Chapel moved into the newly created parish of "Guyhirn with Rings End". It was then used for services until the new church of St Mary Magdalene was built in the village in 1878. From then onwards the Chapel was rarely used and functioned as a mortuary chapel.
By 1960 the building had become derelict and unsafe, and the last service was held in November that year. Due mainly to the initiative of then Vicar of Guyhirn, Reverend Donald Dickinson, 1971 saw the rebirth of the Chapel. The Redundant Churches Fund was approached and the church restored. In July 1975 the chapel was re-dedicated by the Bishop of Ely.
In 1973 the "Friends of the Guyhirn Chapel of Ease" was formed under the presidency of Sir John Betjeman, the Poet Laureate, who on his death was succeeded by author Edward Storey. The Chapel is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
- A.D. Mills (1998). Dictionary of English Place-names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280074-4.
- Guyhirn History, Guyhirn Community, retrieved 9 March 2011
- Guyhirn Chapel of Ease, Guyhirn Community, retrieved 9 March 2011
- Guyhirn Chapel, Guyhirn Chapel, Cambridgeshire, Churches Conservation Trust, retrieved 9 December 2016
- Historic England, "Chapel of Ease, Wisbech St Mary (1331986)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 26 March 2015
Media related to Guyhirn at Wikimedia Commons