Extracts from the Chapel Record Book


King's Mead School Seaford.

(Held in Seaford Museum of Local History)

The Chapel was dedicated by

The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of St Albans

on Saturday March 12th 1927

The opening pages of the book, handwritten by the Headmaster

'No school is complete without it's chapel; so it has always been intended to build one for King's Mead. Of course it was impossible during the war to do more than think of it; nor could any more be done in the years directly succeeding.

There are various methods of putting up a building, but roughly speaking, they may be classified as the modern and the medieval. In the modern way an architect draws up a plan and a builder contracts to follow it out. All the work is taken out of the hands of the people who are most interested in it. The result, though often perfect in detail, is generally one of the lifeless tragedies, to which the Gothic revival has made us all accustomed. Of course there have been exceptions to this rule, the example of Liverpool Cathedral springs to one's mind at once. Nevertheless modern attempts at church building are very seldom satisfactory.

The success or rather the pleasing effect of so many of our medieval buildings lies in their individuality. No two are exactly alike; and they bear the impress of the loving devotion that helped to build them. It was more or less in the medieval way that King's Mead Chapel was built. It was largely put up by the very people who, were going to use it; and it sprang up in a more or less haphazard way. Improvements suggested themselves and alterations were undertaken while the building was actually in progress, and the result has been that, though built in no particular style, King's Mead Chapel is quite different in character from most modern buildings.

Another factor that has helped to produce this result is that it is built almost entirely of ancient material. Early in 1926 an old barn in Ripe, a village about 11 miles from Seaford, was bought. It was pulled down by the boys, the materials were loaded onto a lorry bought for the purpose, and transported by them; and they also spent many hours in cleaning and preparing the bricks. This part of the work was pretty well finished by the end of the Easter Term of 1926.

The actual building was begun on the 20th April and finished by the following September. The Foundation stone came from Sutton Monastery and under it are buried some current coins of the realm. It is an oblong building with aisles: the arcades of 3 bays are made from very old oak from the barn. The Chapel is entered by a door communicating by a covered way with the house. This door is at the opposite end from the chancel which in this case is in the west. There are 3 windows on each side consisting of simple groups of 3 lancets. There " is a similar window in the chancel, but here the centre lancet is slightly higher than the rest.

It is seated with oak chairs, each given by a member of the school, past or present, and each has on it the name of the donor. (These are listed 62 in all) the choir stalls were made by members of the staff and some of the boys from the oak floor of the barn. On the right of the entrance is a pew for the masters and on the left one for visitors. These came from the chapter house of St Alban's Cathedral. The sanctuary is carpeted by blue rugs made by the boys.

The Exterior is of old red brick up to the level of the windows; the upper part is half timbered, it is roofed with old red tiles, the colour of which is mellowed with age. The most unique feature is the position of the tower, had it been built in the usual position great difficulty would have been experienced in providing adequate foundation, so it was placed over the chancel the walls of which were simply carried up, the whole being finished in a Sussex cap.

Items of interest in the Chapel:-

The aisle is paved with unpolished marble from Newsell's Park, Royston, in Hertfordshire.

The Font and the column on which it rests were found buried in a disused hermit's cave in Newsell's Park, Royston. The steps at the base are modern, but the Font and the plinth on which it stands are undoubtedly medieval - probably 14th Century work.

The carved stonework below the Altar rail came from Maresfield Park when that was demolished. It is believed to be 17th century work.

The Altar is an old oak carved chest, which stood for many years in the Dining Hall of the school. Upon the Altar rests a very interesting illustrated bible dated AD 1663, this was presented by Lady Moya Campbell.

The doorstep and the key stone over the door were taken from Pitt House, Seaford. This house belonged to William Pitt, Prime Minister of England for 19 years. (1784-1806)

The White Ensign formerly belonged to H.M.S. "King George V" and was presented by Vice-Admiral Sir Ernle Chatfield. K.C.B. H.M.S. "King George V" was the Flagship of the Second Battle Squadron and led her squadron at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

The needlework hanging in front of the lectern was presented by H.C.Coomber Esq. This is of historical interest, having been taken during the Crimean War in 1854 from the lectern in the Chapel of Fort Bomersund, which fort was destroyed by fire caused by the guns of the British Warships.

Other events recorded include:-

New Organ.

The dedication of a new organ and extension to the Chapel took place on Friday 30th June 1930 with The right Rev. Bishop H Russell of Wakefield (late Bishop of Birmingham) officiating.

Dedication of Memorial Windows.

The dedication of stained glass windows in memory of 42 old boys who had given their lives during the war took place on Tuesday 2nd April 1949, the service being conducted by the Rt. Rev. G.K.A.Bell, Bishop of Chichester. The names of those commemorated were carved into the stone windowsills.

Dedication of the restored organ and Memorial tablets.

The dedication was carried out by the Right Reverend Bishop G.H.Warde on Saturday 23rd May 1964.

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