Chapel Interior

Photo of chapel interior
The chapel was consecrated 1891 October 13, in the presence of the Bishop of Ely, Lord Alwyne Compton.

The architect was George Frederick Bodley of the partnership G.F. Bodley & T. Garner, of 7 Gray’s Inn Square, London. Earlier in his career, Bodley had been the architect for re-modelling the Old Chapel 1858–​61 & 1871–​72, and redecorating the Old Hall in 1875.

New stained glass in the east and north windows was by Charles Eamer Kempe. Three of the south windows were filled by earlier glass transferred from the Old Chapel, by Hardman of Birmingham. The stained glass is discussed in detail on another page.

The contractors for the building, including internal carved wood and brass furnishings, were Rattee & Kett of Cambridge. The reredos was made by Powell & Brothers of Lincoln [General Ledger], who also painted all the internal decoration, under Bodley’s direction. Fabrics were by Watts & Co. of Baker Street, London. The organ (1892) was by J.J. Binns, of Bramley, Leeds.

Where inscriptions are reported below, in almost all cases the original inscriptions in the chapel are in gothic black-letter script, but are reproduced here in plain modern type, to make them easier to read. One particularly difficult letter to read is the greek letter sigma, which appears in black-letter script to resemble ‘ſ’, an old-style long ‘s’: it is reproduced on this page as ‘ϲ’, the lunate form of sigma.


East End

From the roof downwards: the space between the barrel roof and the arch of the east window is decorated with a diaper pattern of christograms. The springing of the east window arch is marked by projecting stones decorated with initials ‘M’ and ‘B’. At the same level, an inscription, divided into two by the window, runs across: “Gloria in … excelsis Deo” [“Glory to God in the highest”, as sung by the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, Luke 2:14].

Below that inscription are four shields (two on each side), coloured gold on black, showing the emblems of the Four Evangelists.

Photo of emblems of Matthew and MarkPhoto of emblems of Luke and John•  St Matthew: angel-winged man;
•  St Mark: angel-winged lion;
•  St Luke: angel-winged ox;
•  St John: angel-winged eagle.

Photo of statue of St MargaretPhoto of statue of St BernardUnder the emblems of the evangelists are two niches. The niches themselves are original: they were later filled with oak statues representing the two patron saints of the college.

Both statues were donated by Herbert Gallienne Lemmon (1879–​1968), alumnus, matric. 1897, B.A., LL.B. 1900, LL.M. 1921, M.A. 1927, Solicitor and Notary from 1904. [Queens’ College 1932–​1933, p. 12] 

On the north (left) is a statue of St Margaret, depicted with a dragon behind, donated in 1933.

On the south (right) is a statue of St Bernard, depicted with a beehive behind, donated in 1932.

It is possible that these statues remained uncoloured until the 1952 restoration.

Photo of angels holding christogramPhoto of angels holding christogramBelow the statue niches on both sides are two angels holding a shield containing a christogram in a sunburst. The sunburst, in the traditional style, has alternate straight and wavy sunbeams.

The christograms on each side differ from each other: the christogram on the north (left) side uses the greek letters ‘ιηϲ’ (iota-eta-sigma), whereas the christogram on the south (right) uses the latinised form ‘ihs’.

Below the angels are doors to the Old Music Room (originally intended as a lecture room).

Photo of altar and reredosBetween the above decorations and below the east window is the altar, with reredos above. The reredos was constructed and decorated by Powell & Brothers of Lincoln [General Ledger].

Incorporated within the reredos is a Triptych of ca.1480, which is described in a separate page.

Above the triptych is an inscription:

Laus Tibi Jesu Rex æternæ gloriæ
“Praise to Thee, Jesus, King of eternal glory”.

In the lattice-work at the top of the reredos are three shields, each containing a christogram in a sunburst.

On each side of the reredos, there is an inscription in a rectangular mount:

gloria tibi ιηῡ
“glory to thee Jesu”

Side walls

Originally, the side walls of the sanctuary were not panelled: in 1897 the walls on both sides were panelled from the choir stalls to the east end, as a memorial to William Magan Campion (1820–​1896), matric. 1845, B.A. 1849, Fellow 1850–​92, Tutor 1853–​92, B.D. 1860, Rector of St Botolph’s 1862–​92, D.D. 1870, Rural Dean 1870–​92, Hon. Canon of Ely 1879–​96, President from 1892. Campion had been the Fellow most influential in the design of this chapel, and one of the most generous benefactors to its construction. Another memorial to Campion was one of the north windows, erected 1897.

Photo of War Memorial in ChapelIn 1922, a memorial to members of the college who lost their lives in the Great War was added to the panelling of the north wall. In 1952, this memorial was extended to include those who had lost their lives in the Second World War. This memorial is described in more detail on a separate page.

Photo of memorial to Dr FitzpatrickIn 1934, a memorial to Thomas Cecil Fitzpatrick (1861–​1931), President 1906–​31, was added to the panelling of the south wall.

Earlier, at Christ’s College: Fitzpatrick matriculated 1881, B.A. 1885, Fellow 1888–​1906, Chaplain 1888–​1906, University Assistant Demonstrator in Experimental Physics 1888–​1906, M.A. 1889, Dean 1890–​1906.

At Queens’ College, Fitzpatrick was President 1906–​31, University Vice-Chancellor 1915–​17 & 1928–​29, Hon. D.D. 1920. He was a significant benefactor to the college buildings, particularly to Old Court restorations 1909–​10 & 1926, to the Long Gallery 1911, and to Dokett Building.

In 1912 he married Annie Rosa Cook (1882–​1964), who commissioned (a) in 1937, a printed memoir of him; and (b) in 1946, a portrait of him which she donated to the college. She also left a number of bequests to the college.

Another memorial to Fitzpatrick was the Fitzpatrick Memorial Hall 1936, demolished 1973, the name of which was transferred in 1989 to the present Fitzpatrick Hall in Lyon Court.

The Choir

Photo of choir looking westThe choir stalls and coving above incorporate much intricately carved wood, all executed by hand by the contractor Rattee and Kett, of Cambridge. Although, at a distance, the design seems to be of a pattern repeating for each seat position, on closer inspection, the carving of each stall will be found to differ in detail from that of its neighbours. The same applies to the bench-ends (poppy-heads) of the stalls, and the end arm-rests (fabulous beasts) of the lower stalls: every one is different. Further afield, every door handle, and every keyhole escutcheon, is different.

Attached to the carved lattice-work above the coving on the north and south sides are christograms, alternately iota eta sigma (Jesus) and chi rho sigma (Christ) as greek letters in gothic black-letter style.

The stall immediately south of the entrance from the ante-chapel is reserved for the President; the stall immediately to the north of that entrance is reserved for the Preacher. The officiants take an upper stall adjacent to the north-south aisle in the middle of the stalls, so that they can leave from and return to their seats during a service. The remainder of the upper stalls was originally intended for Fellows and M.A.s, with students taking the lower bench seats.

The back of the President’s stall has a memorial to Prof. Sir Derek William Bowett (1927–​2009), President 1970–​82, and his wife Lady Betty Bowett (1927–​2019): their ashes are interred in the chapel.

Organ Loft frontal

Photo of organ loft frontalThe front of the organ loft, except the two central panels, is decorated with ten shields bearing capital letters in gothic black-letter script. The eight easily visible shields bear the letters ‘M’ and ‘B’ alternately, for St Margaret and St Bernard, the patron saints of the college. The south-most shield, partially obscured by the carved lattice-work above the choir stall coving, bears the letters ‘AD’, for “Andrew Dokett”, the first President of the college. The north-most shield, also partially obscured, bears the letters ‘GP’, for “George Phillips”, President of the college when the chapel was built.

The two central panels each contain two angels carrying a shield bearing a christogram, as greek letters in gothic black-letter script. The left one reads ιηϲ (iota eta sigma) for Jesus, the right one reads χρϲ (chi rho sigma) for Christ.

Organ inscriptions

On the top of the pipe case:

Gloria in excelsis Deo
Glory to God in the highest
[Luke 2:14]

On the bottom of the pipe case:

Lauda Sion Salvatorem in Hymnis et Canticis
O Sion, praise the Saviour with hymns and songs
[from Lauda Sion, by Thomas Aquinas]

Below the pipe case:

Omne quod spirat laudet Dominum. Alleluia
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Alleluia
[Psalm 150:6]

Ceiling inscription

Around the eaves of the Ante-chapel and Choir is an inscription of selected verses from the Te Deum. The inscription starts in the north-west corner of the Ante-chapel (over the organ-loft staircase), proceeds eastwards until the Sanctuary, then jumps mid-sentence to the south side and proceeds westwards to the south-west corner.

Te Deum laudamus. Te Dominum confitemur. Te æternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Tibi omnes Angeli tibi cœli et universæ potestates. Tibi Cherubin Et Seraphin incessabili
voce proclamant Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus Dominus Deus sabaoth. Pleni sunt Cœli et terra Majestatis Gloriæ Tuæ. Laudamus Nomen Tuum in seculum et in seculum seculi. Alleluia.

We praise thee, O God. We acknowledge thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship thee: the Father everlasting. To thee all Angels cry aloud: the heavens, and all the powers therein. To thee Cherubin and Seraphin continually
do cry Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory. We worship thy Name, ever world without end. Alleluia.

Fittings and Furnishings

The pair of large candle standards were given by the Revd Dr William Magan Campion (1820–​1896), matric. 1845, B.A. 1849, Fellow 1850–​92, Tutor 1853–​92, B.D. 1860, Rector of St Botolph’s 1862–​92, D.D. 1870, Rural Dean 1870–​92, Hon. Canon of Ely 1879–​96, President from 1892. [Obituary: The Cambridge Review, Vol. XVIII, No. 440, 1896 October 29, p. 38] 

The eagle lectern was given by the Revd Arthur Wright (1843–​1924), matric. 1863, B.A. 1867, Fellow 1867– (non-resident until 1872), Dean 1872–​82, Tutor 1878–​98, Vice-President 1900–, D.D. 1904. Wright also gave a silver-gilt flagon to complete the Communion Set of 1637 and 1774. [Obituary: The Dial, No. 48, 1924 Easter, pp. 8–​10] 

The eagle lectern is engraved:

In memoriam Ernesti Temperley A:M: socii et thesaurarii
In memory of Ernest Temperley, M.A., Fellow and Bursar

Ernest Temperley (1849–​89), matric. 1867, B.A. 1871, Fellow 1871–, M.A. 1874. Junior Bursar, Senior Bursar 1887–. [Obituary: The Cambridge Review, Vol. X, No. 242, 1889 January 24, pp. 150–​51] 

The altar cross, candlesticks, and vases were given by the Revd Joseph Henry Gray (1856–​1932), matric. 1875, B.A. 1879, Fellow 1879–, M.A. 1882, Dean 1882–​97, Classical Lecturer 1882–​1928, Tutor 1912–​24, Vice-President 1924–. Chaplain to the Bishop of Ely 1905–​24. Hon. Canon of Peterborough 1919–. J.P. for Cambridge 1914–. [Obituary: The Dial, No. 71, 1932 Easter, pp. 9–​12] 

The prayer-books, bound in dark morocco and stamped with the arms of the college, were given by Edmund Child Haynes (1847–​1910), matric. 1864, B.A. 1868, Fellow 1868–​81, M.A. 1871, Solicitor 1871–.


Screen inscription

Under the organ loft, the screen between the Ante-Chapel and Choir is inscribed with a memorial to members of the Poley (later Weller Poley) family who had been members of the College, especially the Revd William Weller Poley (d. 1887), for which donations were received from his widow and two of his nephews. The inscription reads:

In maiorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God …)
et in memoriam (… and in memory of …)
Johannis Poley 1671 [(1655–​1718), matric. 1671, B.A. 1674/5, Fellow 1676–, M.A. 1678, B.D. 1687, Vicar of Oakington 1691–] 
Ricardi Poley 1700 [(1682–​????), son of cousin of John, matric. 1700, B.A. 1703/4, M.A. 1707, Fellow 1707–​16] 
Joh: Weller Poley 1773 [(1755–​99), grandson of sister of Richard, matric. 1773, B.A. 1776, M.A. 1779, Fellow 1778, Curate, Rector of Roydon 1777–​91, Rector of Hartest w Boxted 1791–]
Geo: Weller Poley 1773 [(1753–​80), brother of John, matric. 1773, B.A. 1776, M.A. 1779, Fellow 1776] 
Will: Weller Poley 1785 [(ca.1765–​1837), brother of John, matric. 1784, B.A. 1788, M.A. 1791, Rector of Binton 1805–​20] 
Geo: Weller Poley 1802 [(1783–​1849), son of John, matric. 1804, B.A. 1805] 
Will: Weller Poley 1834 [(1814–​87), son of George, matric 1833, B.A. 1837, M.A. 1841, Rector of Santon and Vicar of Santon Downham 1857–] 
huiusce domus alumnorum (… of the alumni of this house)
Margarita Tyers W: Poley [(ca.1810–​99), widow of William] 
Joh: Geo: Weller Poley [(1849–​1936), grandson of George, nephew of William] 
Thomas Weller Poley [(1850–​1924), grandson of George, nephew of William] 
… hos cancellos ponendos (these screens to be erected …)
… curaverunt. A.S. 1891” (... they provided for. 1891)

West end

Against the west end of the chapel is what appears to be a row of cupboards: they are in fact the housings for the original hydraulic apparatus which supplied air to the organ. On the upper part of this housing is an inscription:

Venite exultemus Domino iubilemus Deo salutari nostro
“Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour
[Psalm 94/95:1]

The Font

Content to follow.

Monumental Brasses

The four monumental brasses displayed on the walls of the ante-chapel were moved there in 1925. They are described in more detail in a separate page.

Other memorials

Memorial tablets at higher level around the ante-chapel. Content to follow.

Subsequent changes

Individual additions to the original chapel have been documented above. In 1952, a restoration of the chapel decoration was undertaken:

One of the most satisfying pieces of work has been the restoration of the interior decoration of Bodley’s 1891 Chapel. The plaster walls had been damaged by damp and the colour was dingy in the extreme. They are now uniformly whitened, together with the stone window tracery. The East End decoration had so faded that few of the present generation can have hitherto found it attractive. Under Mr Dykes Bower, the architect to Westminster Abbey, its original beauty has been recovered and it now shines with marvellous splendour of red and gold. The painted wooden roof reveals the original design picked out in dark green and near white, the East window is seen to have had its stonework patterned with lively detail, and the oak statues of St Margaret and St Bernard are to have richly decorated robes. New curtains, supplied by Watts, the same church furnishers whom Bodley instructed, are being specially woven to the original design. The heavy leather-bound record book kept by Watts has in his writing the detailed specification of brass ware, altar cloth and curtains — at prices which nowadays seem astonishingly moderate. When all the other work is complete, it is intended to have the medieval triptych restored, and the Chapel will be recognized as one of Bodley’s finest pieces of work.
[Queens’ College 1952–​1953, p.6] 

There is no record of whether anything was in fact done to the triptych in this period.

Links to related pages

Sources, References, Further reading

1891: Order of Service for the Dedication of the Chapel of Queens’ College, Cambridge, October 13, 1891. (OCLC 55865497)

1899: The Queens’ College of St Margaret and St Bernard in the University of Cambridge, by Joseph Henry Gray, pp. 289–​93; (OCLC 8568413)
1926: New edition, updated, pp. 264–​8. (OCLC 79562186)

1951: A Pictorial History of the Queen’s College of Saint Margaret and Saint Bernard, commonly called Queens’ College Cambridge, 1448–​1948, by Archibald Douglas Browne (1889–​1977) & Charles Theodore Seltman, plate 109. (OCLC 7790464)

2014: George Frederick Bodley and the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America, by Michael Harold Webster Hall (1957–), pp. 324–​5. (ISBN 978-0-300-20802-3)