Welcome to St Peter's, Heversham

The Dallam Chapel

Similar to the Levens Chapel to the north, belonging to Levens Hall, the Dallam Chapel on the south side of the church is attached to The Dallam Tower estate. The chairpersons of both land companies are Lay Rectors of the church. The Dallam Squires tend to worship at Beetham where their stately-home Dallam Tower is situated. However, into the 2Ist century, tenants of the Tower continued to sit in ‘their’ chapel.

Until the 1950s, when they migrated to the south aisle, boarders from Heversham Grammar School, which was founded by Edward Wilson in 1613, used the Chapel for Sunday Morning Service. It is claimed that their nailed boots contributed to wearing a curve in the chapel’s doorstep. In Roman Catholic times, there was a subsidiary altar in the chapel whose 14th-century credence table survives on the south wall. It is one of the church’s finest medieval features. 

After the Reformation, ownership of the chapel was split between the Prestons and the Wilson families. During the 19th-century restoration, the arches to the south aisle and chancel were renewed. Fine oak pews were also provided, adorned with the Wilson crest of a flaming crescent.  

The church organ is situated in the chapel, and completely blocks the third window. Records of ‘pairs of organs’ start in accounts of the 1601 fire.  An early 17th-century organ did not survive the Puritan iconoclasts, but there are some references to organ recitals in the 18th century. In 1850, an organ, provided out of a £400 gift when a repair fund and an endowment for the salary of the organist was set up, boosted church music. Mattins and Evensong became fully choral, along with periodic concerts and recitals. In 1870, the organ was moved from the north aisle to its present position where, in 1888, it was rebuilt and enlarged. A perpetual drain on church resources, its highly carved oak case was prone to dry rot, which was partly alleviated when a new concrete base was installed. In 1928, when the organ was still powered by a hand pump, the vicar was instructed by the church council to enquire whether electricity made at Kendal could be supplied for an electric pump at Heversham. This was only achieved in 1935. Successive rebuilding and repairs occurred in 1952, 1961 and into the 21st century. Even so, despite the introduction of piped music, occasional live choirs and music groups, the organ is still played most weeks. 

In the reordering of 2000, a servery was created, again using old pews. This enables the Dallam chapel to be used for coffee after worship, and to host various afternoon teas or Jacob’s Join meals as part of the congregational life.

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