About this image
All Saints Church is said to be one of the smallest in England. This tiny church, or perhaps more properly, chapel, measures some 25ft by 26 ft, and has an aisle as well as a nave. It is attached to another building, a gabled Tudor house, as seen here. This house was once the Infirmary of Dale Abbey, together with its attached chapel. Following the Dissolution the infirmary eventually became the Blue Bell Inn, then a farmhouse. When an Inn, it is believed that the clergy used to dress in the Bar, and entered the chapel through a now blocked doorway. Before that, in the time of the Abbey, when the sick attended service they would enter the chapel using the outside staircase, and thence into the upper gallery. The nave itself has three pew benches and a small harmonium, the pulpit is in the far corner, behind the clerk's desk, which in turn is behind the small table which serves as the altar. As well as all this, there is a large chair, originally procured by Lord Stanhope as his bishop's 'throne', a box-pew and other beams, pews and screens. In the graveyard there is a series of tombstones cut by a local mason, which use the local stone, and are cut vigorously with a local flavour all to themselves. One has the carving of a serpent piercing a skull.
There is a Chronicle, still readable in the British Library, dating from 14th century and dictated by Matilda de Salicosa Mara who remembered hearing of the events from people there when they happened, that states in the 12th century a baker saw a vision in which he was told to leave his work and his home and become a hermit in Depedale (the old name for the area). Having done so a knight took pity on him and paid for the building of a chapel. Further, a woman, known as the 'Gome of the Dale', subsequently took pity on him, extended the chapel and persuaded her nephew to found an abbey nearby. There are some remains of this Abbey, including the famous arch of the east window, and the old Infirmary and Chapel, as well as footings and small lumps of pillar bases. There are also some artefacts in the site museum, located in the grounds of nearby Abbey House. Incidentally the site museum was erected in 1878, which makes it one of the first site museums ever, anywhere, and it's a registered Ancient Monument in its own right. (Additional information very kindly supplied by Ruth Allen).
This view is looking south. It shows the church and house prior to their rebuilding in 1880-81 at which time the latter lost its thatched roof.