Savoy Chapel
The Savoy Chapel or the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy is a chapel off the Strand, London
Strand, London
Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. The street is just over three-quarters of a mile long. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length...

, dedicated to St John the Baptist. It was originally built in the medieval era off the main church of the Savoy Palace
Savoy Palace
The Savoy Palace was considered the grandest nobleman's residence of medieval London, until it was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. It fronted the Strand, on the site of the present Savoy Theatre and the Savoy Hotel that memorialise its name...

 (later the Savoy Hospital). The Hospital was in ruins by the 19th century, and the Chapel was the only part to survive demolition.


The original chapel was within Peter of Savoy's palace, and was destroyed with it in the Peasants' Revolt
Peasants' Revolt
The Peasants' Revolt, Wat Tyler's Rebellion, or the Great Rising of 1381 was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe and is a major event in the history of England. Tyler's Rebellion was not only the most extreme and widespread insurrection in English history but also the...

 in 1381. The present Chapel building was constructed in the 1490s (and finished in 1512) by Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 as a side chapel off his Hospital's 200 feet (61 m) long nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 (this nave was secular rather than sacred, held 100 beds, and was demolished in the 19th century).

The chapel has been the host to various other congregations, most especially that of St Mary-le-Strand
St Mary-le-Strand
St. Mary le Strand is a Church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand in the City of Westminster, London. It lies within the Deanery of Westminster within the Diocese of London. The church stands on what is now a traffic island to the north of Somerset House, King's College London's...

 whilst it had no church building of its own 1549–1714. Also the German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 Lutheran congregation of Westminster (now at Sandwich Street and Thanet Street, near St Pancras) was granted royal permission to worship here, when it split from Holy Trinity (the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 Lutheran congregation, now at St Anne and St Agnes
St Anne and St Agnes
St Anne and St Agnes is a church located at Gresham Street in the City of London, near the Barbican. While St Anne's is an Anglican foundation, it has been let since 1966 to a congregation of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain.-History:...

). The new congregation's first pastor, Irenaeus Crusius (previously an associate at Holy Trinity), dedicated the chapel on the 19th Sunday after Trinity 1694 as the Marienkirche or the German Church of St. Mary-Le-Savoy.

As an Anglican church, the chapel was noted in the 18th century as a place where marriages without banns might illegally occur, and was referred to in Evelyn Waugh
Evelyn Waugh
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh , known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, travel books and biographies. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer...

's Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is theologically termed 'the operation of Grace', that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by...

as "the place where divorced couples got married in those days—a poky little place". Most of the stained glass windows in the chapel were destroyed in the London Blitz during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. However, a triptych
A triptych , from tri-= "three" + ptysso= "to fold") is a work of art which is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. It is therefore a type of polyptych, the term for all multi-panel works...

 stained glass memorial window survives, depicting a procession of Angelic musicians, dedicated to the memory of Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte was an English talent agent, theatrical impresario, composer and hotelier during the latter half of the Victorian era...

 (who was married in the chapel in 1888), which was unveiled by Sir Henry Irving in 1902. After their respective deaths, the names of Rupert D'Oyly Carte
Rupert D'Oyly Carte
Rupert D'Oyly Carte was an English hotelier, theatre owner and impresario, best known as proprietor of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and Savoy Hotel from 1913 to 1948....

 and Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte
Bridget D'Oyly Carte
Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte, DBE , was the granddaughter of impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte and the only daughter of Rupert D'Oyly Carte...

 were added.

The public can still worship here (services are held on Sundays and every Wednesday lunchtime, except in August and September), and the chapel is open to the public every day except Monday.

The Chapel today

This Chapel has always been royal property as part of the Savoy Hospital complex, and is now the property of the monarch as part of the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

, as a peculiar
Royal Peculiar
A Royal Peculiar is a place of worship that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the British monarch, rather than under a bishop. The concept dates from Anglo-Saxon times, when a church could ally itself with the monarch and therefore not be subject to the bishop of the area...

 with its Chaplain appointed by the Duchy. It was made the chapel of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 in 1937 (its chaplain being chaplain to the order also), and in effect "parish church" to the Savoy Estate, the Duchy of Lancaster's principal London land holding. Its costs and maintenance are met by the Duchy, with recent work including the landscaping of the gardens in honour of Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee, and the restoration of the chapel ceiling in 1999. A three manual J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd
J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd
J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd is a British firm of organ builders established in 1828 by Joseph William Walker in London. Walker organs were popular additions to churches during the Gothic Revival era of church building and restoration in Victorian Britain, and instruments built by Walker are found in...

 organ was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, having been designed by William Cole
William Cole (Musician)
William Charles Cole FSA was a conductor, composer and organist. He went to Saint Olave's Grammar School, where he in fact almost lost his scholarship there because 'his music was getting in the way of his studies'. He also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he won the Stewart...

. The trebles in the Savoy Choir either join in Year 6 (while still at primary school) or join after a voice test in year 7 at Saint Olave's Grammar School. Choristers who join the choir in year 6 gain a place at Saint Olave's, provided they pass an academic test.
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