Walpole Chapel was created from two domestic buildings in the late 17th century. The galleried and box-pewed interior vividly conveys the setting of 17th and 18th century dissenting worship. Much of the interior is wood and there are not too many right angles in this much evolved building. The atmosphere is both peaceful and powerful.
Quiet, undemonstrative, deeply peaceful: I know of no place in Britain quite like it.
~ Walpole Chapel committee volunteer
TheGrid Reference TM 373752
The Chapel is open from May to the end of September on Saturdays only between 2pm and 4.30 pm. If you would like to visit outside these hours, please contact our volunteer keyholder to arrange access for your visit.
A quick guide to Walpole Chapel can be downloaded here.
Halesworth railway station is about 5 miles away, from there a taxi is needed.
If you are travelling by car: from Halesworth follow the B1117 signs towards Stradbroke/Laxfield. As you enter the start of Walpole you will see the Chapel on the right hand side, approximately 20 yards after the phone box.
There is limited car parking nearby, none on site. There is a detached WC.
In the area
Halesworth is 5 miles from Walpole Old Chapel, a trail guides you round this historic town. The local countryside is perfect for walkers and cyclists and the Suffolk Heritage Coast is just 10 miles from Halesworth.
The Chapel is open from May to the end of September on Saturdays between 2pm and 4.30 pm. For group visits at other times please contact our volunteer keyholder to arrange access
Suffolk Puritans transformed this pair of timber framed 16th century farmhouses into a simple but dramatic religious building, radically different from the established churches from which they had broken away. It is an interior designed for nonconformist worship without ceremonial. All was straightforward and simple. They took out ceilings, widened the roof span and supported it with lofty wooden columns (one of them a re-purposed ships mast). From the discarded timbers they built pews and galleries for two hundred people, the sightlines converging on the central canopied pulpit.
Outside is a grassy burial ground, now closed for burials, with many low headstones and over 40 species of wild flower. The grass is left uncut in Spring and early summer to encourage them.
Walpole chapel is testament to the vigour of Independent Nonconformity in the isolated communities of East Anglia.
~ Sir Simon Jenkins, England's Thousand Best Churches
The conversion of the two 16th century buildings into one space was achieved by removing walls, creating a wonderful space, but resulting in an inherently unstable structure.
HCT has undertaken a programme of discrete structural repairs at Walpole to enable the chapel's use for concerts and other events during the year. The historic paint scheme has been restored but changes have been kept to a minimum.
Our next challenge is to research the variety of renders that have been used on the building: lime-mortar here, concrete there. As a result, it has a tendency to crack along the margins of the different mortars and any lime wash that is applied over these varying substrates quickly deteriorates.
Walpole Old Chapel has seating for 200; it has toilets, including for the disabled.
The Chapel is available for baptisms, weddings, blessings. It can also be hired for events such as poetry readings, exhibitions, meetings and location filming. You can find more information on the chapel's website.
Volunteers to assist with the day to day organisation and guiding at the Chapel are always most welcome. If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer please contact the Secretary of our volunteer committee.