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Sandham Memorial Chapel and The Vyne: annual outing

Of the two Hampshire destinations for this year’s outing, Pevsner said that Sandham Memorial Chapel is “the outstanding English monument to painting of the pioneering years [of the first quarter of the 20th century]”, and that The Vyne is “one of the most rewarding houses in Hampshire, both visually and historically … and has the best late medieval private chapel in England”.

A few miles south of Newbury, Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere is one of only a few National Trust properties dedicated to the First World War. It was designed by Lionel Pearson, probably better known for the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner. The Chapel (aka the Oratory of All Saints) was built in 1926 to a commission from Mr and Mrs J L Behrend in memory of Mrs Behrend’s brother Lieut H W Sandham, who had died in 1919 from an illness contracted in the War. The Chapel was dedicated in 1927, the year the artist Stanley Spencer, a sometime resident of Hampstead, came to live in Burghclere (until 1932) with his first wife Hilda (nee Carline). He spent these years painting the Chapel’s 19 very striking murals, which depict his experiences as a medical orderly at Beaufort War Hospital (in north Bristol), and later active service in Salonika, Macedonia. The Chapel received Grade I listing in 1984.

For reasons of space, we visit the Chapel in two groups. When not doing so, there is a garden and exhibition (Away from the Western Front – Salonika & Sandham) to look around; and arrangements have been made for mid-morning refreshments at the nearby Carpenters Arms (not included in the price).

We spend the afternoon at The Vyne, near Sherborne St John, a few miles north of Basingstoke. Dating from medieval times, this house was transformed into a palace in the early 16th century by/for William Sandys, who became Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII in 1526. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visited in 1535 as part of the Progress.  In the mid-17th century, the house was sold to Chaloner Chute who was Speaker of the House of Commons; he commissioned John Webb to add a classical portico in 1654. The house remained in the Chute family, until it was passed to the National Trust in 1956. The grounds include gardens, woodlands, a lake, water meadows and a bird-hide. Picnics are welcome in the grounds, and there is also a tea room.  

The price per person for coming on the outing is £25 (National Trust members), £35 (NT non-members), to include travel and tip, admission charges (NT non-members), and talk at Sandham Memorial Chapel. Refreshments are not included in the price. 

There will be three pick-up points, departing promptly as follows:

    Camden High Street, outside Marks & Spencer 8.30am  

    Hampstead High Street, outside Waterstones  8.45am

    Swiss Cottage, outside Swiss Cottage Library  9.00am  

The outing is being organised by Jean Archer, 91 Fitzjohn's Avenue, London NW3 6NX. Her phone number, in case of enquiries (including from CHS non-members), is 020 7435 5490. Bookings should be sent to Jean. Please complete the booking form which was enclosed with the May 2018 Newsletter (or write a letter giving name(s), address, telephone number, and where you wish to join the coach), and enclose a cheque payable to Camden History Society and a STAMPED ADDRESSED ENVELOPE.