St.Bartholomew's Chapel has a new owner.

Profile image for jayenolan

By jayenolan | Thursday, December 22, 2011, 16:23

The Grade 11 Listed St. Bart's Chapel finally has a new owner, after being on sale for the last ten years.

Paul Fernback, of Centaur Properties, arranged a viewing as soon as he found out about the chapel and immediately fell in love with it. He paid £46,000 at auction on Monday for this fantastic historic building, the only surviving portion of what is said to be Britain's first hospital, founded by Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester between AD1077 and 1108.

Mr Fernback owns another church in the Wirral, which he lets to a religious group and, from an emotional point of view, this is his preferred tenancy. However, properties have to evolve and he would not rule out the possibility of another venture, such as conversion to a pub, should a pub chain approach him.

The original hospital building was in what was known as Chatham Intra (Chatham Without), being neither in Rochester or Chatham. Boundary changes have now set the chapel firmly just inside Rochester, on the corner of Gundulph Road which leads up to the new - relatively speaking - St.Bartholomew's Hospital, situated on New Road. Although begun in Norman times (the apsidal-ended Chancel and Chancel arch are Norman, as are the piscina and apse) the Nave is mostly Early English. 

Restored by Sir G. Gilbert Scott in 1896, excavation was carried out in 1978 in the area close to the entrance, with findings such as a substantial flint and lime mortar wall, a variety of pottery ranging from Roman to modern, a 15th century column base and a clay pipe stem of the 18th Century. There is still a strip of land to the west of the nearby synagogue, which was the passageway used by the lepers to get to the hospital from the river landing place on the opposite side of the road.

What would be your preferred use for this wonderful chapel? Would you be happy to see it become a pub or converted to flats, or to once more become a religious venue? Or would you rather another use was found for it altogether?



  • Profile image for jayenolan

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you - let us now how it goes, especially if you start to organise any events :)

    By jayenolan at 14:28 on 01/02/12

  • Profile image for fatherpeter

    I have contacted the new owner about the possibility of a Friends group supporting his restoration and development. We will have to wait and see what he thinks.

    By fatherpeter at 09:55 on 01/02/12

  • Profile image for jayenolan

    The consensus seems to be that the community would rather it retain its charm and not be modernised in any way. It might be worth contacting the new owner, Father Peter, as he seems to have indicated something similar :)

    By jayenolan at 17:19 on 30/01/12

  • Profile image for fatherpeter

    I've also been very interested in this property for some time. I am an Orthodox priest in Chatham and considered purchasing and developing St Bartholomew's as an Orthodox Church. But although the purchase price was reasonable, the cost of restoring the building were beyond anything I could imagine raising. It would be good if there was a Friends of St Bartholomew organisation which could work with the new owner to find an appropriate range of community and worship uses.

    By fatherpeter at 12:28 on 30/01/12

  • Profile image for rosiemelville

    I think turning it into pub / flats etc would be terribly sad and would take all the soul out of it. It's a lovely place and it would be great to see someone taking some care to look after it finally, rather than modernising it and ruining it as many historical buildings are these days

    By rosiemelville at 11:00 on 29/12/11

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