A GUIDE TO THE CHAPEL RUINS

Pope Innocent the Third disavowed both Reginald and John de Gray, and instead appointed his own candidate, Stephen Langton, who was consecrated in June 1207. John was incensed about what he perceived as an abrogation of his customary right as monarch to influence the election. He barred Langton from entering England and seized the lands of the archbishopric and other papal possessions. The Pope set a commission in place to try to convince John to change his mind, but to no avail. Pope Innocent III then placed a Papal Interdict on England which took effect by June 1208, prohibiting clergy from conducting religious services, with the exception of baptisms for the young, and confessions and absolutions for the dying. King John treated the interdict as “the equivalent of a papal declaration of war” and started a fierce campaign of arrests and seizures against the church. By 1209 the situation showed no signs of resolution, and the pope threatened to excommunicate John if he did not acquiesce to Langton’s appointment. When this threat failed, the pope excommunicated the king in November 1209. By 1213, though, John was increasingly worried about the threat of French invasion and he finally negotiated terms for reconciliation. The papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate, Pandulph, in May 1213 at the Templar Church at Dover

BASINGSTOKE AND THE LITEN

The result of this interdict was that for six years from 1208 to 1214 the people of the town could not bury their dead in the churchyard. Instead, a makeshift un-consecrated burial ground known as the ‘Liten’ was used, on a hill to the north of the town, which is where the Chapel ruins now stand.

BUILDING A CHAPEL

When the ban was lifted in 1214 the Liten ground was consecrated and a chapel built on it dedicated to the Holy Ghost. It took 30 years to complete the chapel which gives some idea of the quality of materials used and the craftsmanship for the time. The Chapel was run by a Fraternity or Guild of the Holy Ghost to which leading men of the town would have belonged.

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The Holy Ghost Cemetery, Chapel Hill, Basingstoke. © 2020 South View Conservation Group Website by : ArThomsenDesign