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Wakefield, the chapel on the bridge

Wakefield, the chapel on the bridge

Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus

Medium: Ink wash on paper

Date: 1773

Shelfmark: Additional MS 15548

Item number: f. 93

Genre: Manuscript

Kelly's Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire (1888) reports, "The town is seated on the navigable river Calder which communicates, via Goole, with the port of Hull, and is here crossed by a bridge of eight arches." The chapel is now a chantry chapel - in such a chapel a priest was paid to sing masses for the soul of the chapel's dead founder to hasten its release from the torments of purgatory.

In the Middle Ages it was common to build chapels on bridges to collect money to maintain the bridge. This chapel was built in the mid-14th century, toll rights to the bridge were granted in 1342 and the chapel licensed in 1357. There are very few of these bridge chapels left and none as detailed as at Wakefield. Unfortunately the chapel had fallen into disrepair by the late 16th century. It was "restored" by medieval enthusiast Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1847.

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