Little Chapel

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The Little Chapel
Little Chapel op Guernsey.JPG
The Little Chapel
MunicipalitySt Andrew
Geographic coordinates49°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
Groundbreaking1923 (1923)
Length16 feet (4.9 m)
Width9 feet (2.7 m)

The Little Chapel is situated in the Les Vauxbelets valley, Saint Andrew, Guernsey.[2][3] It was created in July 1914, by Brother Déodat.[4] He planned to create a miniature version of the grotto and basilica at Lourdes, the Rosary Basilica.[5]


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).[6] 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.[4][7] Déodat went to France in 1939 and died there, never having seen his chapel finished.[8]

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[9] and leading to condemnation of the vandals.[10] The windows had been smashed previously, notably three times in 2003.[11] The chapel has been described as "probably the biggest tourist attraction in Guernsey",[12] and "intricate".[13]

In late 2013, there was major work on the overgrowth which was, in places, hiding parts of the chapel.[14]

In November 2015 it was closed to allow some major structural work to be undertaken.[15] The works include underpinning the building, stabilising the foundations and weatherproofing the building, and are estimated to cost £500,000. Fundraising is being undertaken.[16]

Fully open again to the public in April 2017, the major works such as stabilising the foundations are complete however additional fundraising is needed to finish the final phase of renovation.[17]


Surfaces of the chapel are covered with broken china

The Little Chapel is decorated with seashells, pebbles, and broken china.[5][18] "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."[19] It has room for around eight people.[8]

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.[20]

The mosaic style is "pique-assiette" or "Picassiette" (a French term based on a pun blending pique-assiette – literally, plate-pincher, the sort of person crashing into a party to enjoy a free meal – and famous artist Pablo Picasso). According to Mosaic Art Source, "[P]ieces of broken pottery, china, glass, buttons, figurines, and/[or] 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."[21] The style was the nickname of a French Art Brut artist, Raymond Isidore, who decorated his house near Chartres, known as Maison Picassiette,[22] much in the same style as the Little Chapel.

Film of walking around the chapel in 1948 is held by the Cinema Museum in London Ref HM0364[23]

In media[edit]

The Little Chapel features in the game Guernsey Monopoly, part of the Monopoly board game series, which was released in 2013.[24]


  1. ^ "Histoire de la petite Chapelle de Guernesey". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Guernsey Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing". World Guides. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  3. ^ Dillon, Paddy (1999). Channel Island Walks. Cicerone Press. p. 209. ISBN 9781852842888.
  4. ^ a b "Little Chapel". Martyn Guille Silversmiths & Fine Jewellers. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b "The Little Chapel". The Little Chapel. Archived from the original on 24 September 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Third Time Lucky for Guernsey's Decorative 'Little Chapel'". Urban Ghosts. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Little Chapel, Guernsey, Channel Islands". Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b "THE SHELL CHAPEL". Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Vandalism 'will not close' Little Chapel in St Andrew". BBC News. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Little Chapel windows smashed". This is Guernsey. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Vandals target Little Chapel". This is Guernsey. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Little Chapel disappears from bus timetable". The Guernsey Press. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Guernsey Island Drive, Little Chapel & Workshops". Princess Cruises. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  14. ^ Moore, Rob (28 October 2013). "Unseen features at the Little Chapel get uncovered". Channel TV. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Little Chapel To Close". Island FM.
  16. ^ "£500,000 is needed to save the Little Chapel". Guernsey Press. 17 September 2016.
  17. ^ "A work in progress". Guernsey Press. 11 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Guernsey is a little bit of Britain abroad". The Mirror. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Architecture & Garden Art – Picassiette Mosaic Art – The Little Chapel – Guernsey". Mosaic Art Source.
  20. ^ "History". The Little Chapel. Archived from the original on 24 September 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Glossary: pique assiette". Archived from the original on 31 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Maison Picassiette". office du tourisme de Chartres (in French).
  23. ^ "Cinema Museum Home Movie Database.xlsx". Google Docs. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  24. ^ "Guernsey Monopoly goes on sale". The Guernsey Press. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.

External links[edit]