The St. John and St. Nicholas Chapel

The St John and St Nicholas Chapel is linked to the sanctuary by Andrew Pyke's work. The furniture has been designed and made by Andrew in memory of a local man who did much for the church in the middle of this century. The processional cross is also by a local craftsman, Michael Cave.
The importance of this chapel over the centuries explains the various names it has been called. As the 'Clearwell Chapel' it reflected the fact that it was built by Sir John Joce, owner of the original castle at Clearwell and whose effigy is sited in the south aisle. Later generations called it the 'Dunraven Chapel' as well as the 'Clearwell Chapel' as the family owning the successor to Clearwell Castle, Clearwell Court, restored and looked after the chapel until the widowed Countess Dunraven had built a new church at Clearwell, at the entrance to her estate. Various memorials and hatchments on the walls relate to the Dunraven family and their relations, notably the Wyndham and Quinn families. Other families from the present Clearwell area are also referred to in this chapel. The famous 'Miners Brass' is inserted in a slab with the Baynham name inscribed.

 

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The 'Miners Brass' is unusual in being in relief. It depicts a miner in working garb with his tools and his lighted candle which was probably held in place by sticking into a lump of clay attached to his chin or cheek, or possibly gripped in his mouth. Its origins are unknown; reputedly it was returned to the church in the early nineteenth century.
The 'Greyndour Chapel' refers to a Greyndour family foundation which provided a school, an early type of grammar school. The history of this foundation is uncertain for at a later date the school seems to have been refounded by Edward Bell and became known as Bell's Grammar School. It was moved to Coleford in the nineteenth century and finally closed at re-organisation in 1968. The board listing the headmasters is hung adjacent to the chapel. The tradition of families supporting the chapel continued into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Fortescue-Brickdale family renovated the chapel about 1912. The reredos was designed and painted by an eminent artist and member of the family, Eleanor, now regarded as an important member of the 'Birmingham School' which carried on the traditions of Pre-Raphaelitism. The reredos, which could be classified as distinctly 'feminist', depicts the Virgin Mary with the Christ child, flanked, in separate panels, by her cousin Elizabeth with her son John the Baptist, and her mother Anne with her distaff.
The honourable tradition of support continues in to the late twentieth century; in 1997 a major stained glass window, by Henry Haig, was donated by Joan, widow of Henry Ludlam. Henry Ludlam, a farmer, bought Bell's Grammar School and grounds when it closed and incorporated it into his own land, creating the Bells Golf Course and Hotel.