Early medieval hospitals, like St John’s, were places of refuge for people, and they often had chapels dedicated to a saint whose name was then given to the institution. At our Chapel Court almshouse, the original Norman chapel was dedicated to St John the Baptist, hence our charity’s name.
St John’s Chapel of St. John the Baptist was rebuilt in 1717, becoming the first Georgian chapel in Bath. There was a close association with the nearby parish church, the original St Michael’s Within and when the latter was demolished after falling into disrepair in the 19th century, St John’s chapel was rededicated to St Michael and it took over the mantel of the ‘Chapel of St Michael’s Within’. The ‘within’ part of the name indicates that the chapel was situated within the medieval city walls (and therefore free from plague!). Refurbished most recently by St John’s in 2011, to improve comfort and access, the chapel is open to the public every day.
Two striking features of the chapel, from the 16th century, are the timber bell tower built around 1580 and the clock on the eastern gable, one of the earliest public clocks in Bath. The box pews of the original church would have allowed for 60 worshippers, with almshouse residents expected to attend morning and evening prayers each day.
Today, there remains a Chaplain and Verger on site, providing pastoral and spiritual care to our residents, staff, and the general public.
While a Christian chapel by its origins, The Chapel of St Michael’s Within welcomes attendees of all faiths. The chapel is open every day, as a place for quiet reflection, for prayer or for simply looking around.
Weekly services at The Chapel of St Michael’s Within
Breathe and Begin
Sunday 12 noon
Holy Communion or Morning Prayer
For further information and details of services and events, please contact the Chaplain email@example.com