Our latest event took members to Cuddesdon where Martin Percy, Principal of Ripon College gave members a fascinating briefing on the iconic new chapel and the concepts behind Nial McCloughlin’s design. We also explored the old chapel and enjoyed a briefing on this and the history of the college itself by Mark Chapman, the Vice Principal.
After lunch we proceeded to Rycote where we were given a guided tour Rycote Chapel and the magnificent gardens of Rycote Park which were in full bloom. Recently restored, the lovely fifteenth-century Chapel has exquisitely carved and painted woodwork from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its many intriguing features include two early seventeenth-century roofed pews and a musicians’ gallery. Also worthy of note is the yew tree to the south of the Chapel. According to tradition this was planted as a seedling brought from the garden of Gethsemane at the coronation of King Stephen in 1135 (but our guide assured us that the latest expert opinion is that it is several centuries older!). It is one of the specimens measured by enthusiasts in the eighteenth century and its present circumference of twenty six feet differs very little from the measurements taken then.
This visit was extremely popular with our members. Those who were unable to join us might like to know that Rycote Chapel is open to the public from April to September on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.