A little bit of history about Lady Margaret’s
The original site at Lady Margaret’s Medieval Hall dates back to the 11th century and was founded by the French Knight, William de Tracey, known to have been one of the assassins of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Formerly St Margaret’s Chapel, her origins range from leper hospital to Almshouses, forming a group with the cottages next door on the same site. An early reference to a three-day fair in 1247 granted by Henry III is recorded, showing that the hospital relied heavily on charitable giving and fund-raising for its survival.
In 1347 it fell to the patronage of Ford Abbey where Thomas Chard, Abbot of Ford, set about restoring the buildings, enlarging the leper hospital and Governor’s quarters and in 1530 (during the reign of Henry VIII), the present chapel was erected. The tomb in the chapel is said to be that of Thomas Chard.
By the late 18th century the need for a leper hospital no longer existed and the complex was used as Almshouses for the poor and elderly. The Governor of these Almshouses was required to read prayers to the residents twice a week in the chapel.
Until recently, regular services were held in St Margaret’s. Now privately owned along with the cottages, this diminutive stone chapel, retains many of it’s original features, including its Tudor windows with stone hoods, ornate finials adorning the roof and fully functioning bell in the west gable should you wish to ring in good wishes to the new bride and groom!