The Fitzalan Chapel

In 1380 the 4th Earl of Arundel, Richard Fitzalan, founded a secular College of Canons, that is to say, a community of clergy to maintain daily worship and pray for the souls of the founder’s family. This initiated the building of the church you see today. From the beginning the church was divided into two parts, with the nave accommodating the people of the parish and the chancel as the collegiate chapel and chantry. An iron grille, which you can still see today, separated the two parts of the church.*

The Fitzalan Chapel - Seen from St Nicholas Parish Church

This arrangement was common in many churches in England. What sets Arundel apart is that on 12th December 1544, just before Henry VIII ordered the abolition of the chantries, the 12th Earl shrewdly surrendered the College to the king, who a few days later sold it back to the Earl for 1,000 marks and an annual rent. The collegiate chapel, therefore, was taken out of the hands of the Church and became the private property of the Earl and his descendants. The Chapel, now know as the Fitzalan Chapel, can only be accessed through the castle. *

The Fitzalan Chapel

The Fitzalan Chapel

The Fitzalan Chapel

In 1879 an action heard before Lord Chief Justice Coleridge determined that the Fitzalan Chapel did not form part of the parish church but was an independant ecclesiastical structure. The chapel has therefore remained Catholic, an unusual, if not unique, anomaly in England. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and All Saints. The parish church is dedicated to St Nicholas.**

The Fitzalan Chapel

The chapel is still used as the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk and several masses are said here every year for the repose of their souls in accordance with the intention of the founder in the 14th century. The major artistic interest of the Fitzalan Chapel lies in the tombs of the Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk which form one of the finest assemblages of their kind in England.**

The Fitzalan Chapel

*From a Church of St Nicholas Arundel leaflet

**From an Arundel Castle leaflet on the Fitzalan Chapel

8 Comments CherryPie on Feb 18th 2019

8 Responses to “The Fitzalan Chapel – Arundel Castle”

  1. So the collegiate chapel was taken out of the hands of the Church and became the private property of the Earl and his descendants!! The family had to be very well connected, didn’t they?

  2. The Yum List says:

    Arundel is the name of a suburb not far from my sister’s home.

  3. Shabana says:

    a very informative post dear Cherie!

    through your sharing i am knowing lot about the golden history of old churches and specially seeing their marvelous beauty is truly a Joy!!!!!!

  4. I was there too!
    And wanted to go to the posh side so badly.

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