Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mass at Dilston Chapel

This years annual Mass at Dilston Chapel will take place on Wednesday 20th July at 7.30pm. It will be Missa Cantata celebrated by Fr Michael Brown.

The chapel forms part of the estate of the former Dilston Castle built in the mid 15th Century when border raids were common. In the late 16th & early 17th Centuries the Radcliffe Family transformed the original tower house into a more comfortable Elizabethan/Jacobean manor house which, the following century, was incorporated into Dilston Hall, a palatial mansion owned by James Radcliffe, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater. The Hall was demolished in 1768.

Dilston Chapel is a rare example of a Post-Reformation recusant chapel, built in 1616 reputedly with money raised for financing the Gunpowder Plot. It was designed specifically for Roman Catholic worship even though that was illegal. Sir Francis Radcliffe, who owned the manor at that time, was arrested on suspicion of complicity.

The Radcliffe Family were the wealthiest & most prominent Roman Catholic family in the north through their connection by marriage with the Royal House of Stuart. Sir James, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, took up arms in support of his cousin Prince James Stuart in the ill-fated Jacobite Rising of 1715 following which he was tried for High Treason, found guilty & beheaded on Tower Hill.

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