Guernsey’s ‘Little Chapel’, which is thought to be the smallest chapel in the world, celebrates 100 years in 2014.
This pretty chapel that is covered in thousands of fragments of china, seashells and pebbles is like something from a fairytale. The chapel, which measures just nine feet long by five feet wide can only accommodate a few people at time is nestled into Guernsey’s inland parish of St Andrews and there has never been a better time to visit this tiny cultural wonder as it reaches its centenary.
Brother Deodat, an exiled French monk, started building the Little Chapel, as it is known, in December 1913, to emulate the sacred grotto and basilica at Lourdes. It was a real labour of love but three versions of the chapel have been built altogether. The first, measuring just nine feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was demolished by Deodat himself following criticism. Not deterred, his second effort was completed and blessed in July 1914. Slightly larger at nine feet long by six feet wide, and marginally more successful, this chapel survived until the Bishop of Portsmouth’s visit in 1923. It turned out that the portly bishop was rather wider than the doorway so Brother Déodat once again commenced demolition. The third version, which was officially finished in July 1914, is the one we see today.
The chapel is one of the most highly visited places on the island and has survived 100 years with no damage, even during the WWII German occupation. The chapel is free to visit. http://thelittlechapel.org/
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