SummaryThe medieval chapel of St Catherine dominates the picturesque village of Abbotsbury from its perch on a hill high above the village. A climb to the chapel gives superb views out over The Fleet and Chesil Bank to Lyme Bay.
The ChapelSt Catherines dates from the 14th century. It was built by the monks of Abbotsbury, possibly as a beacon for pilgrims coming to worship at the abbey in the village below. The chapel survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries that destroyed the abbey, because it was so valued as a navigational beacon to sailers making the crossing of Lyme Bay.
Because it was dedicated to St Catherine, the patron saint of spinsters, the chapel became popular as a place for women to pray for a husband. In the words of an old prayer:
A Husband, St Catherine,
A handsome one, St Catherine,
A rich one, St Catherine,
A nice one, St Catherine,
And soon, St Catherine.
The climb from the village takes 10 minutes or so (depending on how many stops you take to enjoy the view!). The slope is not terribly steep, and once you've reached the top, a very short level walk to the seaward side of the hill gives stunning views out over Lyme Bay, with Abbotsbury Swannery, The Fleet, and Chesil Bank in the foreground.
Getting ThereAbbotsbury is 9 miles west of Weymouth on the B3157. The chapel can be reached from the western end of the High Street via Rope Walk (signposted).
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: half mile south of Abbotsbury
Website: St Catherine's Chapel
Phone: 01179 750 700
OS: SY572 848
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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14th century (Time Period) -