01243 537526 | Graylingwell Chapel, Graylingwell Park, Chichester, PO19 6BZ


Most frequent questions and answers about Graylingwell Chapel redevelopment.

Graylingwell Chapel was never consecrated as a church but was instead a site for spiritual reflection for those who were working or being treated in Graylingwell Hospital, previously known as the West Sussex County Asylum. 

Following the extensive development work that will take place from now until early 2021, to retain and protect the heritage of the building, the chapel will be available on Saturdays, Sundays and evenings for religious groups and other organisations. The private hire of this building and one-off events can be arranged with CCDT, a team within which is already working with a number of religious groups looking to offer services or meetings in the building.

The funding that CCDT secured, including £1.3m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund means that the building will be restored to its former glory. A substantial percentage of the investment will pay to:

  • Restore the roof
  • Restore the bell tower 
  • Refurbish and restore all stained-glass windows 
  • Protect for five years the swan end pews on the main altar area 
  • Restore and maintain the beautiful mosaic flooring

And lots more.  The focus is entirely on restoration and retention of all heritage aspects of the building, whilst modernising services to increase the appeal to as many members of the community as possible, engaging greater numbers of people in its heritage, and providing comfort to all who visit. 

The swan-end pews on the main altar area will be fully restored and they will stay within the chapel following the development.  

The remaining pews will be auctioned off to the community so that they stay in the local area.  This will raise further funds for community projects and local charities.  We are working with local community groups on the work required to divide the longer pews in two, whilst retaining all their original features to ensure they can be more easily accommodated in domestic and private housing. The pews wil be replaced by comfortable domestic furniture, such as sofas and armchairs to provide a quiet, comfortable space for reflection and community engagement when events are not being held. 

Any alterations CCDT will be conducting in Graylingwell chapel will enhance, not destroy the environment.  The design team has focused heavily on ensuring the building is accessible to an even greater number of people, and that time can be spent there in comfort, allowing for a greater sense of spiritual reflection. 

CCDT will be providing toilets; a café and kitchen area; and up-to-date heating and lighting that will be hugely efficient and effective.  The building currently has no toilets or cooking facilities limiting the opportunities that community or faith groups could develop in the venue.   The changes being made will enhance the building fulfilling the premise of the development project – to provide the public with greater access to local heritage.  Graylingwell chapel was never consecrated but was instead a place of spiritual reflection.  That remains very much at the centre of the ethos of the Graylingwell chapel project.

Graylingwell chapel will be open every day, from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. This will enable residents and visitors of Chichester to come and enjoy the amazing heritage of the building.  Information provided in the carefully curated exhibition that will be housed within the chapel will help visitors to understand the history of both the chapel they are in, as well as the wider history and importance of the pioneering mental health work that was conducted at the Graylingwell hospital.  The National Lottery Heritage funding CCDT secured will ensure we can tell the story of Graylingwell in a way that has never been told before.  We are reaching out to those who worked or were treated in the hospital so that we can record their stories ensuring the wider history of the region is told.

CCDT worked hard throughout the three years of planning to engage with the local community at every possible opportunity, hosting outreach events asking community members for feedback on the work that they would like to see carried out in this heritage project.  Following each event plans were tweaked and amended to ensure that the views of the people were reflected in the scheduled works. We were delighted to realised the success of this engagement when we received not a single objection to our planning application. 

CCDT is based in the Water Wower at Graylignwell Park and team members are always happy to chat through the plans and alleviate any concerns.  If you have any matters you would like to talk through please contact us by email at info@chichestercdt.org.uk or drop in to talk to us directly.

We will be opening the doors of the chapel once again for a Christmas carols concert on Thursday 12th December.  Details will soon be available on the What’s On guide of our website and details released on our social media channels so please do follow Chichester Community Development Trust on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so as not to miss out. 

We also have a number of talks, slideshows and events coming up so please sign up to our newsletter to feel more involved, and once again if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch

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