St Illtud's Galilee Chapel, St Illtud's Church, Llantwit Major

The Galilee Chapel


The ruin attached to the West Church, adjoining the Sacristy, was a 13th century Galilee, described in Henry VIII’s survey of monastic possessions as “The Lady Chapel at the West End”. The remains of a piscina can still be seen at the upper floor level, indicating that worship took place here.

The purpose of a Galilee is uncertain, but it was always positioned near a Sacristy, where the church plate and vestments were stored. Presumably the priest and acolytes robed in the Galilee and proceeded into the church.

In the 15th century, it became a chantry. That is, a chapel where prayers were said for the family who had endowed the building. In this case it was the family of Sir Hugh Raglan. The chantry priest lived in what is now the ruin in the churchyard.

Puritans abolished chantries in the reign of Edward VI, after which the chapel presumably fell into disuse, while the Sacristy found other uses.

Images of the Galilee Chapel

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