The East End- The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel, so called because it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus, is rich in furnishings and monuments. This chapel was founded in the fourteenth century, probably by the Chinn family who owned a nearby mansion called 'Highmeadow'. This chapel provided 'Morrow Mass' priests to go into the Forest to the small and scattered iron mines, and later coal mines, to take the Sacraments and Scriptures, and comfort where necessary.
At the entrance is a votive, or prayer, candle stand which is much used by the parishioners and visitors who light candles as a silent prayer or a remembrance of a person or event.
The magnificent Perpendicular east window was re-discovered in the nineteenth century when an eighteenth-century addition, probably a vestry, was taken down. The nineteenth-century stained glass in this window depicts the raising of Lazarus flanked by Lazarus's sisters, Martha and Mary.


In the south-west corner of this chapel is the remains of a spiral staircase which is one of the oldest sections of the church. Originally it was extended upward to connect with a large rood-screen. Whether this screen was across the present chapel arch or led to a screen at the present entrance to the Lady Chapel is not certain.
Near this staircase is a magnificent late fourteenth-century effigy of a priest in full Eucharistic vestments; the type of vestments re-introduced into the Church of England in the nineteenth century and normal wear today in this church as in many others.
There are several imposing wall monuments to various families who had houses in the parish. The chapel also boasts a magnificent array of modern fabric furnishings designed and made specifically for this chapel, by Beryl Dean and Sylvia Green and their team. Blue is a colour traditionally symbolic of the Virgin Mary and it links the hanging (the dossal) behind the altar with the patchwork altar frontal and the blue and oatmeal tiles of the floor. Also by Beryl Dean are four pennants or hangings suspended from the roof beams. One depicts the Vine and another the Wheat, representing the Eucharist; another depicts the Pomegranate, symbol of the church and of immortality; and the fourth depicts the Tree of Life, complete with its fierce and wily serpent.