About this image
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, and now it is just a private farmhouse, the land and buildings having been sold away. 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. Legend has it that 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. Nothing remains of this Abbey, apart from a few ruins and the famous arch of the east window, and all that remains are the old Infirmary and Chapel, seen here.