St Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn

St Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn, Norfolk

England’s largest chapel of ease reopened to the public on Saturday 12 September 2015, revealing the results of a year-long £2.7m year conservation and regeneration project, led by our Regeration Taskforce and the Friends of St Nicholas’ Chapel and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors.

As well as re-roofing of the building to preserve the incredible carved angels beneath it, the restoration work included the installation of solar panels on the roof, and new facilities which will help to breathe new life into the chapel as a cultural venue for events, concerts, fairs and exhibitions

Reopening

The Chapel officially reopened to the public at 11am on 12 September 2015, when Janice Hardy, a local resident who married her husband John at the chapel in 1971, cut the ribbon to welcome local residents back inside. 

The day featured a range of special events, including tours of the chapel and the North End of King's Lynn in the company of the North End Guides, medieval crime & punishment trials in the Consistory Court with Happening History, a free concert with musical groups and soloists from King's Lynn and market stalls, storytelling, an art exhibition, food and drink.

We've gone solar

Our first installation of large-scale green technology at St Nicholas Chapel, King’s Lynn saw an array of 92 monocrystalline solar units installed in summer 2015. In the long run, the panels will help us better manage running costs at our largest building and also provide an income through the governments Feed-in-Tariff. The units will also provide power to a low carbon heating and lighting system that is shortly to be installed, ahead of the Chapel launch in September. For images click here.

Let there be light

At the end of March 2015, 'Light Lumiere' launched in King's Lynn. This project - funded by the European INTERREG IV 'Art, Cities and Landscapes' partnership - aims to promote the unique and beautiful heritage assets of King's Lynn and help people better connect with the community with them. St Nicholas' Chapel is one of the buildings to feature in the Council led project. The light installation will attract even more interest in the Chapel and the hidden beauty contained within in the run up to our launch event this autumn.

Ground breaking event - August 2014

To celebrate the start of site works a ground breaking event was held at the Chapel in August 2014. Images of the event can be found here. We're well into the first stage of the construction programme which will breathe new life into this remarkable building. The scaffolding is going up, excavations are underway and one of our contractors has become an overnight singing celebrity!  Click here to find out more about the 'singing scaffolder' at St Nicholas Chapel!

The £2.7 million pound project is due for completion in early summer 2015 and has been supported by a number of key donors, including the Heritage Lottery FundThe Garfield Weston FoundationKing's Lynn Preservation Trust and The Green Energy Trust, Scottish Power. Keep checking this page for news on future learning opportunities and click here to access our regeneration Tumblr page with the latest images on the project.

We still need your support

The Friends of St Nicholas' Chapel (FSNC) and the Trust are looking to recruit new volunteers to  help support, manage and grow the Chapel into a thriving community venue. Please click here if you are interested in becoming a volunteer and helping to save one of the most important historic buildings in King's Lynn.  

Local Friends

The Friends of St Nicholas' Chapel are a local charity that manages the building in partnership with the CCT.  The chapel is currently used for music events and we want to build on this rich heritage and extend its activity to people who have never experienced its wonderful acoustics and atmosphere. This includes people who have recently arrived to the area who may not know that such an important historic building is open to everyone.

The partnership with the Friends will promote greater local ownership and will provide additional volunteering opportunities for the community. Our project will help demonstrate the shared benefits of local and national organisations working closely together. 

New interpretation for the chapel will tell untold stories of local people and community life. We want to open the medieval consistory court records and allow people to glimpse back to see what role the church had in making decisions about people’s lives and affairs and how this has changed.

Saving money through green technologies

The Chapel will also become a flagship for the inclusion of sustainable technologies: the design scheme will see the installation of a low carbon heating and lighting strategy to be powered by a large array of Photo Voltaic (PV) cells.  These schemes will enable the Chapel to provide year round comfort and warmth, at a running cost that is affordable to the project partners.  The scheme will demonstrate how you can better manage these costs without having to compromise building integrity. The PV cells will also provide free energy to the Chapel and also generate income which will be used to support operational costs. 

Part of the regeneration scheme will see the 20th Century lobster pot chandelier units that run within the north and south arcades retrofitted to create a series of low carbon radiant chandeliers. These units will provide localised heating and lighting to the Chapel, improve user comfort and enable year round use.   

PV array to be installed on the south nave roof (produced by Richard Griffiths Architects)

West door conservation and rededication

In March 2013 the West Doors (the focus of recent conservation work) were unveiled and rededicated by the Bishop of King’s Lynn , the Rt Revd. Jonathan Meyrick. Restored to their original medieval splendour, the conservation of the chapel doors forms part of the larger regeneration programme.

Newly conserved west doors restored to their original medieval colour

The Festival of Angels 

Our latest event was The Angel Festival in June 2012 where almost 100 angels, created by local individuals and companies were on display in the chapel, highlighting our unique collection of wooden angels set into the historic roof.

Detail of one of the angels decorating the historic roof

The Festival of Angels followed on from a very successful open day in the Chapel in April 2012.

This project is also supported by the European Regional Development Funds  INTERREG IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme.