Domestic chapel of St Katharine of Alexandria and burial ground


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017499.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 30-Sep-2020 at 16:25:33.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sefton (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 36398 04884

Reasons for Designation

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

The medieval chapel at Lydiate was built as a family domestic chapel for a local landowner. Such chapels are unusual in that the Reformation abolished Catholic worship in such buildings. In many cases chapels were then absorbed into the parish system or abandoned. This building continued in use for many years after the 16th century and the present ruins are well preserved in spite of the loss of the roof. It is also unusual as such domestic chapels are normally in the grounds of the emparked estate or actually part of the structure or outbuildings of the great house with which they were associated. The building is a good example of a late 15th century ecclesiastical structure and preserves many original features.


The monument includes a ruined chapel together with a burial ground surrounded by a rectangular earthen enclosure and a shallow ditch. The chapel was erected by the Ireland family before the death of John Ireland in 1486. His initials appear above the porch.

The chapel, also known as Lydiate Abbey, is a rectangular building with a tower at the west end and a porch at the western end of the south wall. The building measures 15m by 5m externally and is decorated with stepped buttresses at the corners and at 3m intervals along the walls. The walls of the chapel stand to their full height and are in good repair. The tower stands to its original height, without a roof, and has diagonal buttresses and three stages. The west window in the west wall of the tower has its tracery missing. On the east wall of the tower, the line of the chapel roof is visible as a drip moulding, 6m above the present floor of the interior. The porch has only the lower courses of stonework left and shows a shallow Tudor style archway through to the interior. In the south wall are three-light perpendicular style windows with some tracery remaining. The north wall is blind with an arched entrance at the western end. The chapel is Listed Grade II*.

The burial ground is defined by an earthen bank and external ditch and is rectangular in shape, measuring 37m north to south and 40m east to west inside the bank. The bank is 4m wide at the base and stands up to 0.5m high where it is best preserved. A 4m gap on the east side may be the eroded original entrance. Ditches for field drainage lie outside the enclosure on the south and west sides. There is a shallow ditch on the west side and traces of a shallow ditch on the east side. These ditches are not necessarily part of the original construction. Burials within this enclosure continued until the late 19th century and there are gravestones in a group on the south west side. The concrete plinth for a notice on the eastern side of the burial ground is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gibson, Fr T E, Lydiate Hall and its Associations, (1876), 174-5
O'Hanlon, D, St Catherines Chapel Lydiate; A Preliminary Review, (1977), 43-57


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].