Sandham Memorial Chapel

254 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

May, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Wife

Reasons for trip

Stanley Spencer was an idiosyncratic artist who could be awkward and sentimental, yet in his deeply felt memorial for a friend and his Great War comrades he attained a symbolic expression to stand beside national memorials.

His war service began as a hospital orderly and his work in the chapel follows this course, with a lorry bringing wounded soldiers through the hospital gates. Details of their initial treatment follow along the north wall before, on the south, his experiences in the Balkan campaign show why he felt the need to commemorate. Dominating everything is a huge resurrection, in which the soldiers rise from graves and present the white robed figure of Jesus with their crosses.

Although photography is not possible in the chapel because the paintings are not owned by the National Trust, images can be viewed on line. There is an impersonal character in the figures, mainly masculine as this is a war memorial although the few females (nurses) could be images of Mary, which gives them universality. In this Spencer departs from his model, which was the Giotto masterpiece in the Scrovegni chapel in Padua, because his task was not to register the devotion of his patron but the sacrifice of his friend and comrades.

The chapel was specially built for the purpose and is still used for occasional services. As well as the paintings, a study centre places the Balkan campaign in context and shows a film comprising documentary footage and modern location images together with illustrative maps. The campaign was every bit as grim as the Western Front, with viciously cold winters and malarial summers. It was brought to a successful conclusion just before the western Armistice of November 1918.

Visitors will find a small car park across the road before they enter the gate beside an oak tree, one of two planted to commemorate Spencer. The second is now a stump covered by ivy, almost a memorial in itself. An orchard in a wild flower meadow leads to the main door, although the National Trust entrance is at the back of the building. The rear garden is carefully tended to allow reflection. It was also, when we visited, used by the local art society for exhibiting sculpture.

The chapel is open every day, apart from Monday and Tuesday, between late February and late October, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in November and December. Advice is to check whether a service or other event is taking place, in case the chapel is closed. The nearest town is Newbury, from where local buses run through Burghclere.

John.Pelling

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.