History of St Mary’s Chapel


Foundation stone laid for St Mary’s Chapel, designed by John Pearson. Pearson was also architect of Truro Cathedral and did design and restoration work in other cathedrals.


February 2 – The Chapel was dedicated. The original Chapel ended at the present rood screen.


Chapel lengthened by 22 feet and the ante-chapel, Lady Chapel, galleries, vestries, song room, room over the song room and Cloister was built.


Pearson and Hems of Exeter designed the rood screen in memory of Exterior Sister Cassie Garraway, who died on 29 December 1912.

1 July – Rood is in place.
8 July – Rood is dedicated.
Our Lady and St John from Oberammergau were added later.

Stalls and panelling are teak by Hems of Exeter.
Angels over the stalls carved by Josef Mayr of Oberammergau.

Relic of the True Cross and two silver vases bequeathed by Prebendary Banff, a Priest-Associate.


Tabernacle built into the east wall of the sanctuary. It is designed by Pearson and is a copy of one at Chartres. It was given by Associates in memory of relatives fallen in the 1914-18 War.


24 June – Electric fan installed in chapel roof.

21 October – Stone statue of ‘Our Lady’ carved and lifted into place by Mother Maribel. The statue is in memory of Sister Rhoda who drowned when the ‘Egypt’ sank on the way to India on 20 May 1922.


Sanctuary re-arranged by Sir Ninian Comper. Triptych removed from altar, crimson dossal, hangings, canopy and carpet.

November – Holy water stoups built into walls at chapel doors.


January – Bottom central light of east window changed for one of Madonna and Child.


March – Rest of central light of east window changed.


June – Electricity installed for organ. The organ was first in St Mary Magdalene’s Chapel built by Moore and Martin of Oxford and enlarged for St Mary’s Chapel.

October – Side lights in east window moved to window in south gallery.


March – Small window to commemorate the Centenary of the Oxford Movement installed in Lady Chapel.


Chapel cleaned and the font removed and sent to a church in the Isle of Dogs. Sir Ninian Comper’s canopy, hanging and carpet removed. Tabernacle moved from the north side of the east wall to the centre behind the altar.


St Peter’s Chapel built and dedicated.


Tabernacle moved back to original position on the left hand side of east wall.

New lighting installed and the organ went to Germany for complete overhaul and rebuild.

Also of interest in the Chapel and Cloister

The small picture between the Choir and Shrine is of St Catherine of Siena and her first group of tertiaries – by Francesco Vanni.

Our Lady and Child was placed in the Lady Chapel in memory of Sister Rhoda, drowned when the Egypt sank in 1922. Carved by Mother Maribel.

The large crucifix in the south gallery was from Oberammergau.

The Cloister was built in 1900.

The Statue of Our Lady at the end of the cloister was of French craftsmanship.

The Statue of Our Lady of the Visitation was by Mother Maribel.

The Throne was designed by Mother Maribel.