The restored chapel.
Near to the Maison
the monks of the Priory of St
established a cemetery for the poor with its own
small chapel. The chapel, dedicated to St Edmund, was consecrated
on 30 March 1253 by Bishop Richard of Chichester . St Richard
had always wanted to dedicate a chapel to St Edmund, who had
been his friend. The fulfilment of this wish was one of Richardís
last acts as he died four days later in the Maison
. After his death Richardís body was returned to the
chapel to be Ďevisceratedí (have the internal organs removed)
in preparation for the journey to Chichester Cathedral to
be buried. The viscera were buried in the chapel altar and
both places later became places of pilgrimage.
The chapel was dissolved along with the Maison
in 1544. Its history since then is only sketchily
known. Immediately after the dissolution, it was probably
still associated with the fortunes of the Maison Dieu and
became part of a victualling store for the Navy. After that
it became a store-house for the shops which came to be built
in Biggin Street
. In the middle
of the nineteenth century it was converted into a two-floor
building, and became a dwelling-house and forge.
In 1943 artillery shells destroyed the two shops hiding the
chapel on the Priory Road side, leaving the chapel itself
untouched. Attempts to get it scheduled as an Ancient Monument
in 1963 failed and it was scheduled for demolition. In 1965,
however, it was privately purchased and restored in 1967-8.
At least 75 percent of the building seen today is original.