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Ocklynge cemetery chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in Old Town, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7777 / 50°46'39"N

Longitude: 0.2648 / 0°15'53"E

OS Eastings: 559767

OS Northings: 100016

OS Grid: TQ597000

Mapcode National: GBR MV7.1RX

Mapcode Global: FRA C7F1.4ZG

Entry Name: Ocklynge cemetery chapel

Listing Date: 16 April 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412755

Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21

County: East Sussex

District: Eastbourne

Electoral Ward/Division: Old Town

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Eastbourne

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Eastbourne St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Pair of cemetery chapels, 1857 by Benjamin Ferrey, designed as one building, Anglican chapel to the south, smaller nonconformist chapel to the north. In Early English manner.


Knapped flint with flush sandstone dressings, stone slate roofs with stone parapets. The rear, west, gable wall of the nonconformist chapel is tile-hung.

Pair of conjoined single-cell chapels, arranged asymmetrically, the east gables facing the road, set behind a screen wall and gates at the main entrance to the cemetery. South-facing entrance porch to the larger chapel, the entrance to the nonconformist chapel to the north. Tall bellcote above the Anglican chapel.

Two-bay Anglican chapel with a southern, buttressed gabled porch and an attached vestry beneath a pitched roof. Stepped buttresses with stone copings, moulded stone cushion kneelers and chamfered plinth; plain stone parapets and stone gable cross to west. Mostly plate tracery windows, but the west-facing window is of three cusped lights beneath cusped encircled trefoil lights; a single light to the south elevation. The south porch with an outer pointed, moulded stone arch, has a pair of vertically boarded framed doors with strap hinges, a ring handle on an ornate iron plate and a similar plate to keyhole. The vestry has a two-light window with flush dressings, the glazing bars and mouldings removed. The principal elevation, the east gable, has an encircled quatrefoil window of which one light is blocked, above a pair of widely-spaced lancets and all beneath a flush relieving arch. Above is a tall, open, bellcote, supported by tall buttress shafts and surmounted by an iron gable cross.

The nonconformist chapel, which is a little lower, smaller on plan and set back slightly from the larger chapel, has an east-facing window of three plain lights beneath three circular lights and a stone, encircled, gable-end cross. The north-facing entrance, beneath a tall steeply-pitched gable that is flush with the elevation, has a shallow, moulded, four-centred outer arch to a pair of framed and vertically boarded doors with heavy, ornate iron fixtures and fittings. The west gable wall is tile hung suggesting a degree of alteration or replacement.

The Anglican chapel roof is arch-braced to the collars and lined in diagonally laid pine boarding. The walls are plastered and painted above pine matchboard panelled dados, now varnished. The porch is lined in exposed flint and the roof has been boarded. Encaustic tile floors in the porch extend into the chapel. Inner arches and reveals to windows and doors are simply chamfered. Internal doors, similar to the external doors, also have heavy ornate iron fixtures and fittings that include strap hinges, latches, door knobs and plates. The chapel interior has been reordered but retains some of its original benches, also stripped and varnished. The vestry has an exposed pine roof and is lined in cupboards which are themselves lined internally in pine boarding, and doors have similar door furniture to elsewhere.

The nonconformist chapel, now used as a maintenance store, is lined with a matchboard panelled dado and has a slender arch-braced roof. Internal doorways and window reveals are simply chamfered. Doors again have heavy ornate iron fixtures and fittings that include strap hinges, latches, door knobs and plates. It has a wood block floor.


The chapel, built and consecrated in 1857, was designed by Benjamin Ferrey for the Burial Board following the purchase of four acres at Ocklynge in 1855 for use as a burial ground. Designed as a pair of attached chapels, the building stands immediately behind the entrance screen and gates to the cemetery, flanked by a lodge. A war memorial to the First World War was subsequently built outside the east end of the chapel, facing the entrance screen. It commemorates sailors and soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War and who are buried in the cemetery.

Benjamin Ferrey (1810-80) is well-known as a Victorian church architect. He was a pupil of Auguste Charles Pugin and knew his son, the celebrated architect A W N Pugin, from an early age and became his biographer (1861). Ferrey set up in independent practice in about 1834. He was the diocesan architect to Bath and Wells from 1841 until his death, a post which explains the large amount of church work he undertook in that diocese. Although he was steeped in the Gothic Revival, he occasionally worked in the neo-Romanesque manner. Charles Locke Eastlake, in A History of the Gothic Revival (1872), described Ferrey as one of the earliest, ablest, and most zealous pioneers of the modern Gothic school' and said his work 'possessed the rare charm of simplicity, without lacking interest'. Ferrey was twice Vice-President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and in 1870 was awarded a Royal Gold Medal. He was also appointed Honorary Secretary to the Architects' Committee for the Houses of Parliament.

In 1858 he designed a pair of cemetery chapels at Christchurch, now on the outskirts of Bournemouth, where he had worked early in his career. A pair of cemetery chapels and a gatehouse at Hillingdon Cemetery, Hillingdon, Greater London, also by Ferrey, are listed Grade II. In Eastbourne he designed Christ Church, Seaside (1859, listed Grade II*), where Lewis Carroll worshipped and preached when he stayed in Eastbourne.

Reasons for Listing

Ocklynge Cemetery Chapel, 1857 by Benjamin Ferrey, is listed for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural interest: distinctive pair of conjoined cemetery chapels, by a notable Gothic Revival architect, the character of each denomination reflected in the composition;
*Intactness: despite some degradation, the composition of the building and overarching attention to detail is evident;
*Fixtures and fittings: includes panelled doors with intricately moulded door furniture;
*Contribution to cemetery landscape: designed as part of a set piece at the entrance to the cemetery, flanked by trees, enhanced by the later war memorial and within a wider picturesque group that includes the later church of St Michael to the north;
*Historic interest: as biographer of AWN Pugin, Ferrey was both historian and practitioner of the Gothic Revival, and his church Christ Church, Seaside, Eastbourne and Ocklynge making a significant contribution to the Gothic Revival in Sussex.

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