Sandham Memorial Chapel
Sandham Memorial Chapel
A very unusual painted chapel dating to the 1920s. Sandham is profusely decorated with wall paintings by Stanley Spencer, who was inspired by his experiences in WWI. Sandham Chapel is set in wide lawns with views over Watership Down.
Spencer served as a medieval orderly at Salonika, in Greece, and his murals commemorate 'the forgotten dead' of World War One; soldiers who are not remembered officially on any other memorials. The chapel murals took 6 years to complete and are astonishingly detailed, prompting one visitor to remark that they are 'Britain's answer to the Sistine Chapel'.

The chapel was built for Mr and Mrs JL Behrend of Burghclere in 1923, as a memorial to Mrs Behrend's brother, Lieutenant Harry Willoughby Sandham. Sandham served in the Macedonian campaign in WWI and contracted an illness which led to his death in 1920.

There are 19 paintings in all, depicting scenes from the everyday life of soldiers at war, leading up to their deaths and ultimate resurrection. They offer a fascinating and touching glimpse into the lives of the soldiers, but are also a very moving example of faith, aside from their value as one of the best examples of English 20th century art on a grand scale.

The chapel is set in a combination wildflower meadow and orchard, with paths leading to Burghclere village. Spencer loved the village and used it as inspiration for many parts of his paintings.

The chapel is used for services 3-4 times per year, including a poignant Remembrance Day annual service.