Capela do Corpo Santo

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Date of travel

May, 2019

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Dating from the late C15th, this is one of the oldest chapels on Madeira. It is dedicated to Sao Pedro Gonçalves Telmo, the patron saint of fishermen. It also served as an infirmary for local fishermen and their families and offered support to families of fishermen lost at sea. In the old town, it is easy to miss as it is tucked away between Rua Santa Maria and Rua D. Carlos I which runs parallel but closer to the sea.

It is a simple whitewashed building with a small dark basalt bell cot. The inside is equally as simple with whitewashed walls and wood ceiling in the nave, although the chancel ceiling is painted. The altar and reredos are C17th and occupy all of the east wall. The painting in the centre of the reredos is StPeter blessing a small sailing ship.

There are two other altars on the side walls of the nave. The painted wall mounted pulpit is reached up a long wooden ladder – hopefully the priest is not afraid of heights… Near it is the processional cross.

Coming in from the bright sunlight, the inside of the chapel seems dark at first as there is only a small window high in the wall and most of the light comes in through the double doors.

The chapel is open 9.30-12.30 and 14.00-18.00 and is free to enter. In many ways there isn’t a lot to see, but it is a charming small chapel and well worth stopping to have a look inside.

All my pictures of Madeira are “here.”:


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