On Saturday 23 April 2022 a Choral Evensong marked the dedication of the new porch and the completion of Lancing College Chapel, 154 years after the laying of the foundation stone.
After the opening from Fr Richard Harrison, Chaplain of Lancing College, The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrick, The Provost of Lancing led the prayers during the formal dedication and censing of the new porch.
The Evensong also marked the Licensing, Commissioning and Installation of the Senior Provost of the Woodard Corporation, The Reverend Justin White. Presented by Sir Robert Woodard, great-grandson of the Founder, Revd White was licensed by The Bishop of Lewes, The Right Reverend William Hazlewood, and commissioned and installed by the Chairman of the Woodard Corporation, Mr Richard Morse, and the President, The Right Reverend Dr John Inge, Lord Bishop of Worcester.
Lancing College Chapel Choir sang some beautifully evocative hymns and psalms, including Henry Smart’s Christ is made the sure foundation, which was also sung at the consecration of the Chapel in 1911 and at the dedication of the west end in 1978. Sumsion’s Magnificat in G and Nunc Dimittis in G followed the lessons read by The Reverend Dr Janneke Blokland, Chaplain of Hurstpierpoint College, and Dominic Oliver, Lancing College’s Head Master.
One of the highlights of the service was the Choir’s first performance of the anthem The earth is the Lord’s (music by Matthew Martin), specifically commissioned for the dedication of the new porch.
The service concluded after the sermon by The Right Reverend Dr John Inge, prayers led by pupils from the Sussex Academies and their Chaplain, Paul Sanderson MBE, and a final blessing from The Bishop of Lewes. The final music after the service was Widor’s Marche Pontificale performed on the Walker organ by Bernard Barker, great-great grandson of Nathaniel Woodard.
The special ceremony was attended by over 450 guests, OLs, Friends, donors, local clergy and other members of the Lancing community, including two former Lancing Head Masters, Ian Beer, CBE and Chris Saunders, and was followed by a Champagne Afternoon Tea on the Chapel Lawn.
Speaking about the occasion in an interview on BBC Sussex, Dominic Oliver commented: ‘A gloriously beautiful building has been finished; it’s the crowning glory of a very special Sussex landmark. This project has been possible thanks to the generosity of a dedicated group of people, particularly The Friends of Lancing Chapel, the College, and the Lancing Chapel Trust. For many of them this has been the main focus for many decades. It is also a big celebration for the people from around the community who support and are involved with the Chapel.’
Various designs to finalise the west end of the Chapel were created over the years, all sadly failing due to lack of funding and other external events and complexities. In 2017 a new project by Architect Michael Drury was approved, and fundraising started in earnest by The Friends of Lancing Chapel, and the College. A very generous response to the Chapel Completion Campaign made it possible to sign a contract with Chichester Stoneworks in 2019, and finally complete the Chapel in 2021.
Lancing Chapel is known for being the largest school chapel in the world and the fourth tallest ecclesiastical building in the British Isles. It houses both the biggest rose window built in modern times and the last great tapestries woven on the William Morris looms. It is used as a performance venue for broadcasting globally and is open daily to the public; every year we welcome over 6,000 visitors.
The Chapel has also a very significant role in the lives of pupils and of the school community; it is a place of prayer, reflection, memory, inspiration and wonder. It is also a focal point for staff and parents at the school and to those OLs who have left – and often the first place they go to when they return to visit the school.
The Evensong can be watched via the link below:
We are delighted to be welcoming visitors to the Chapel again from Monday 25 April. For more information and opening hours please visit https://www.lancingcollege.co.uk/chapel or keep up to date via Facebook @lancingcollegechapel