St Stephen's Chapel
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The unfortunate Edmund was later captured by the Danes in 870 and cruelly executed at Hoxne, refusing to the last to renounce his Christian faith. His faith and martyr's death had the usual consequences; people started reporting miracles at his grave. In the early 11th century King Canute had Edmund's body transferred to Bury St Edmunds, and St Edmundsbury Abbey grew up around the shrine, which became a very popular destination for pilgrims. So popular did the cult of Edmund become that he was the patron saint of England before St George usurped that role.
The chapel was used as a hospital during an outbreak of the plague in 1739, then converted to cottages and finally to a barn - in fact it rather resembles a barn still. It is sometimes known locally as Chapel Barn. In the mid 20th century the chapel was restored by the Probert family who presently own the nearby cottage. It has been re-consecrated as a chapel, and holds a yearly service in summer.
As mentioned, St Stephen's served as a private chapel for Tany manor, but where was the manor located? We do not know for certain, but one possibilitity is the crown of Cuckoo Hill, where a copse of trees now stands.
Within the chapel are three tombs of the de Vere family, Earls of Oxford. These were moved here from Earls Colne Priory, which was destroyed in the Reformation. The three tombs appear to be made up of bits and pieces of 7 or 8 memorials, reassembled like pieces of a puzzle.
Unfortunately the chapel is usually locked, but visits can be arranged by contacting the caretaker at Chapel Barn (beside the chapel). If you do find the chapel locked you can still peer in the windows for a sight of the de Vere tombs.
About St Stephen's Chapel
Address: Chapel Barn, Bures, East Anglia, Suffolk, England
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: From the minor road from Bures to Assington take the track through Fysh House Farm to Chapel Barn Cottage. The chapel is beside the cottage.
Website: St Stephen's Chapel
St Stephen's Chapel Photos
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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