One Of The Finest Pieces Of Georgian Architecture In Dorset
The Chapel of St Mary in the grounds of Lulworth Castle is reputed to be one of the finest pieces of Georgian architecture in the county of Dorset. It was designed to look like a Classical garden building. The beautiful domed ceiling, lit through clear windows rather than stained glass, creates a tranquil and inspiring atmosphere.
In 1786 Thomas Weld engaged the architect John Tasker to build the Chapel and family tradition tells that King George III gave his permission to “build a mausoleum and you may furnish it inside as you wish”. Thus St Mary’s became the first free standing Roman Catholic Chapel to be built for public worship in England since the Reformation.
In 1789 the King and Queen Charlotte visited the Chapel and gave their approval. In 1790, John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States was consecrated here.
The beautiful ceiling painting, representing the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was commissioned in 1987 to commemorate the bi-centenary of the Chapel and was painted by Sarah Jansen.
The Chapel is in regular use for Mass (every Saturday evening at 6:30pm) as well as hosting wedding ceremonies.