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Church of England Chapel at Ford Park Cemetery

A Grade II Listed Building in Peverell, City of Plymouth

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Latitude: 50.3831 / 50°22'59"N

Longitude: -4.1435 / 4°8'36"W

OS Eastings: 247707

OS Northings: 55891

OS Grid: SX477558

Mapcode National: GBR RB4.72

Mapcode Global: FRA 2861.3L5

Entry Name: Church of England Chapel at Ford Park Cemetery

Listing Date: 5 August 2002

Last Amended: 8 October 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1407641

Location: Plymouth, PL4

County: City of Plymouth

Electoral Ward/Division: Peverell

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Plymouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

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A Gothic Revival Anglican Cemetery chapel built 1847-8 by John R Hamilton and James Medland of Gloucester; it underwent repair work in the early C21.


MATERIALS: snecked grey Devon limestone with Caen stone dressings, on a granite plinth, all under a slate roof with coped gables.

PLAN: a single-cell plan with a large integral porte-cochère at the west end.

EXTERIOR: the chapel has four-bays which are separated by buttresses. The north and south elevations are identical with two east bays, each with a two-light Decorated tracery window (the most easterly of which is blocked) and a central west bay which is blind. The west-end bay is wider, with a large double- chamfered two-centred arch to the porte-cochère, a quatrefoil vent above and diagonal buttresses supporting tall, crocketed pinnacles with gargoyles. The gabled west end has a large two-centred double arch with a crocketed hood moulding above, topped by a foliated finial. Above this is an angel corbel supporting the stone, polygonal base of a bell-turret on the west face with buttresses on the north and south sides (the bell turret, which was itself a replacement for an earlier spire, was taken down in the early C21 during repair work). The central arch is flanked by two blind traceried single-light windows and stepped buttresses. The west-end entrance, which sits within the porch-cochère, has a caen stone, two-centered arch with hood mould and double timber vertical plank doors hung internally on wrought iron pintels. The external strap hinges are wrought iron with ornate foliate designs. The top two are original and the bottom two are replicas replaced in the early C21 work after the originals were lost during the C20. The east end of the chapel has a large three-light window with decorated tracery and is flanked by buttresses. All of the windows and arches have arched hood moulds with decorative label stops, and all of the windows contain lozenge leaded lights to the top and rectangular leaded lights to the lower panes. A moulded drip course runs around the whole of the chapel exterior immediately below cill level.

INTERIOR: the interior of the chapel has three-bays. The roof is arch-braced with four principal trusses and three intermediate trusses. All the trusses have a central cusped quatrefoil at the apex, with two flanking trefoils and open, chamfered spandrels. The principal trusses are supported by stone angle corbels while the intermediate trusses are carried by the wall plate. The window arrangement of the two side elevations is identical, with two blind traceried windows in the end bays and an open window in the centre. At the east end the three-light traceried window is also flanked by blind traceried windows under all of which is a civilian Second World War memorial plaque which hangs from the wall. The plaque chronologically commemorates the people of Plymouth who lost their lives during air raids on the city, and was added in the early C21. The remains of a painted panel, including the painted biblical text “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life saith the Lord” and surrounding painted black frame which are part of the original chapel design, still exist on the wall behind the plaque. There are three monuments on the north wall. The seating and altar were added in the early C21. The floor is laid with stone slabs.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 27/11/2012


Ford Park Cemetery was established in 1848, created by the Plymouth Devonport and Stonehouse Cemetery Company (PDSCC). The first burial took place on 1 December 1848. The Ford Park Cemetery company’s minute books show two chapels (including the Anglican chapel), a lodge (listed Grade II) and formal wrought iron entrance gates with ornate pillars (listed Grade II) were designed as a set piece within the cemetery landscape, consisting of a formal drive, terraces and raised vaults (registered Grade II*). It was designed by the architects John R Hamilton (unknown dates) and James Medland (1808-94) who won a competition set by the PDSCC in 1847. The second, Nonconformist, chapel stood to the south-east of the Anglican chapel; this was destroyed during the Second World War by enemy bombing in 1941, and was rebuilt in the 1950s as an interdenominational chapel. The cemetery was later extended to the north-west and north-east. By the end of the C20 the number of interments had significantly reduced. In 2000 the Ford Park Cemetery Trust was set up to maintain the cemetery due to concerns following the liquidation of the PDSCC. In 2007 the Trust was granted LBC to carry out repair works to the chapel, this included the replacement of the roof slate, the repair of stone work, and the replacement of window glass and leading. Internally changes included the insertion of a new stone slab floor, the re-plastering of the walls and the addition of free-standing congregation chairs and an altar.

Hamilton and Medland joined together and set up their firm in circa 1846 in Gloucester. They were responsible for a variety of buildings, including institutional and commercial work, but were particularly well known for their cemetery landscapes and architecture. One of their earliest cemetery designs was Warstone Lane Church of England Cemetery in Birmingham (registered Grade II), including the Church of St Michael (demolished) and lodge (listed Grade II). They later won the competition to design Ford Park Cemetery. Hamilton and Medland’s original design, for the two original chapels at Ford Park to be linked by a cloister, was never realised, likely due to calls by the PDSCC to reduce the cost of the construction work. Hamilton and Medland would soon after design the chapel complex at Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester (demolished) in a similar Gothic Revival design, this time executing the linked walk way. It is likely that Hamilton was the lead architect for the Ford Park Cemetery chapel, as he had been for the Warstone Lane Cemetery commission. The partnership dissolved in 1849 and Hamilton emigrated to America. Medland continued practising in Britain, including as County Surveyor of Gloucestershire.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of England Chapel at Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: a good example of an early Victorian cemetery chapel;
* Architectural interest: it has a strong Gothic Revival style with an impressive porte-cochère at the entrance;
* Architects: the only surviving cemetery chapel by the noted cemetery designers John R Hamilton and James Medland, who also laid out the cemetery landscape and other listed buildings within its grounds;
* Context: it is in a prominent position within the Ford Park Cemetery (registered Park and Garden; Grade II*), which is a significant cemetery landscape, and provides an important focal point within the cemetery.

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