Little Chapel

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The Little Chapel
Little Chapel op Guernsey.JPG
The Little Chapel
Basic information
Geographic coordinates 49°26′33.23″N 2°35′15.58″W / 49.4425639°N 2.5876611°W / 49.4425639; -2.5876611Coordinates: 49°26′33.23″N 2°35′15.58″W / 49.4425639°N 2.5876611°W / 49.4425639; -2.5876611
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Municipality St Andrew
Region Guernsey
Status Active
Groundbreaking 1923 (1923)
Length 16 feet (4.9 m)
Width 9 feet (2.7 m)

The Little Chapel is a small chapel in Saint Andrew, Guernsey, situated in Les Vauxbelets.[1][2] It was created in July, 1914, by Brother Déodat.[3] He planned to create a miniature version of the grotto and basilica at Lourdes, the Rosary Basilica.[4] It has been said that it "is the smallest functioning chapel in Europe, if not the world", and[5][6] it is "believed to be the world’s smallest consecrated church."[7][8]


The chapel was originally built by Brother Déodat in March 1914 (measuring 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide). After taking criticism from other brothers Déodat demolished the chapel. He finished a second chapel in July 1914 (measuring 9 feet by 6 feet).[9] However, when the Bishop of Portsmouth visited in 1923, he could not fit through the door, so Déodat again demolished it. The third and current version of the chapel started soon after the last demolition, and measures 16 feet by 9 feet.[3][10] Déodat went to France in 1939 and died there, never having seen his chapel finished.[11]

In 1977, a committee was established to restore the chapel and today it falls under the care of Blanchelande College.

In 2010, five stained glass windows were smashed, causing £3,000 worth of damage,[12] and led to condemnation of the vandals.[13] The windows have previously been smashed, notably three times in 2003.[14] The chapel has been described as "probably the biggest tourist attraction in Guernsey",[15] and "intricate".[16]

In late 2013, there was major work on the overgrowth; which was, in places, hiding parts of the chapel.[17]

In November 2015 it was closed to allow some major structural work to be undertaken.[18] The works include underpinning the building, stabilising the foundations and weatherproofing the building are estimated to cost £500,000 and fundraising is being undertaken.[19]


Surfaces of the chapel are covered with broken china

The Little Chapel is decorated with seashells, pebbles, and broken china.[4][20] It has room for around eight people.[11]

The chapel was brought sudden fame following a Daily Mirror article, which led to islanders donating coloured china, the Lieutenant-Governor of the island offered mother of pearl, and other gifts came from around the globe.[21]

The mosaic style is pique assiette or picassiette ( a french term -”stolen from plate”) – pieces of broken pottery, china, glass, buttons, figurines, and/ jewelry are cemented onto a base to create a new surface. Almost any form can be used as a base, and any combination of pieces can be applied, restricted only by the individual creator’s imagination.[22]

Mosaic Art Source "From a distance the colours and design make a pleasing whole, close-up it’s amazing to see all the different pieces used to create the effect." Link MosaicArtSource

In media[edit]

The Little Chapel features in the game Guernsey Monopoly, part of the Monopoly board game series, which was released in 2013.[23]


  1. ^ "Guernsey Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing". World Guides. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Dillon, Paddy (1999). Channel Island Walks. Cicerone Press. p. 209. ISBN 9781852842888. 
  3. ^ a b "Little Chapel". Martyn Guille Silversmiths & Fine Jewellers. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The Little Chapel". The Little Chapel. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Lenska, Rula (15 November 2011). "An actress calls: Rula Lenska hops over to Guernsey but finds it a world away". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Bond, Jennie (2 July 2008). "A royal family affair on Guernsey". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Kelly, Fergus (29 September 2012). "Warm to a taste of the Gallic in Guernsey". Express. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Guernsey Destination Guide". Premier Holidays. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Third Time Lucky for Guernsey's Decorative 'Little Chapel'". Urban Ghosts. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Little Chapel, Guernsey, Channel Islands". Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "THE SHELL CHAPEL". Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Vandalism 'will not close' Little Chapel in St Andrew". BBC News. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Little Chapel windows smashed". This is Guernsey. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Vandals target Little Chapel". This is Guernsey. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Little Chapel disappears from bus timetable". The Guernsey Press. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Guernsey Island Drive, Little Chapel & Workshops". Princess Cruises. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Moore, Rob (28 October 2013). "Unseen features at the Little Chapel get uncovered". Channel TV. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Little Chapel To Close". Island FM. 
  19. ^ "£500,000 is needed to save the Little Chapel". Guernsey Press. 17 September 2016. 
  20. ^ "Guernsey is a little bit of Britain abroad". The Mirror. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "History". The Little Chapel. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "pique assiette". 
  23. ^ "Guernsey Monopoly goes on sale". The Guernsey Press. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.