Wallingford's chapel

Elevation of chapel wall in St Albans Abbey drawn in 1846; presumed at the time to be William Wallingford's chantry chapel

This drawing, dating to 1846, was one of the first produced by the Society. That it illustrates a part of the Abbey church comes as no surprise. After all, the Society was founded to shine light on the history and architecture of this building in particular.

The artists were brothers Raphael and J. Arthur Brandon. Both London-based architects, they shared a strong interest in the Neo-Gothic architectural style along with prominent antiquarians like John Chessell Buckler. Their publications, such as Buckler’s A history of the architecture of the Abbey church of St Alban … and the Brandons’ Parish churches … reflect this interest. The drawing itself was published by George Bell, a leading antiquarian publisher also with offices in London. All were members of the Society in its first few years.

As the title of the drawing shows, no one was quite sure whose chapel it was. It was ‘presumed’ at the time to be William of Wallingford’s – abbot from 1476-92. More recently it has been ascribed to John of Wheathampstead (1420-40). An interesting question arises from this attribution. If it is correct, why was Wheathampstead’s skeleton, discovered in 2017, found several metres from the location of his supposed chapel?