Though small, Avebury Chapel is a rare gem as it lies right in the centre of the largest stone circle in the world, with an uninterrupted view over the standing stones.
In May 2017 the National Trust acquired this former United Reformed Church Chapel, which is an excellent example of a historic non-conformist chapel with many of its original fixings still in place. The Trust has sympathetically renovated the building, keeping its features intact, and plans to use this space as a place to celebrate Avebury and the surrounding Wiltshire countryside.
With the renovation complete, Avebury Chapel is now open to the public as a welcome and information space for both visitors and the local communities, and the Trust has been inviting people to call in and see for themselves over the summer holidays.
Emma Talbot, the National Trust’s newly appointed Avebury Chapel Manager, explains more ‘The concept for the space is that of an outdoors information and engagement centre that explains and engages visitors with the conservation work of the National Trust, as well as the Trust’s partners and tenants across the World Heritage Site and wider Wiltshire landscape.
To a certain extent, this is a work in progress while we get a feel of how best we can use this space. We’ve opened the chapel to visitors for the summer holidays, inviting children and families to take part in nature related activities.’
The Trust are also hoping to host community events, talks, presentations, classes or concerts at the chapel. The first concert is taking place on 14 September when acclaimed singer-songwriter Tobiah will be playing songs from her new album Are We Angels including a song written especially for Avebury Chapel.
‘I’m so excited to be giving the first performance in Avebury Chapel since it’s reopened’, says Tobiah. ‘It’s going to be a magical evening of uplifting songs and stories, with foot-tapping interludes from my special guests. Performing at Avebury is a dream come true and the chapel is the perfect venue for my music.'
Tobiah’s original songs draw on her own life, and her poignant lyrics touch hearts with life-affirming stories of love and endurance. BBC’s Doug Welch has described her voice as ‘outstanding’.
Avebury Chapel is also registered as a ‘Quiet Garden’, a place where people are invited to come for prayer, reflection and rest.
The chapel is open Monday to Thursday, 11am – 4pm. You can find out more about the chapel and Tobiah’s concert at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury or telephone 01672 538036.