Annunciata Elwes celebrates the effort that turned a derelict house into a memorial.
In 1956, sculptor John Bunting, who counted Henry Moore and Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson among his influences, purchased a derelict farmhouse on a hillside above Oldstead, site of the 1322 Battle of Byland, with a view of York Minster.
What followed was a painstaking transformation from rubble to War Memorial Chapel, which he adorned with Yorkstone carvings of angels, the Madonna and Child, a dove bearing an olive branch and a soldier in paratrooper’s helmet and commando boots holding a rosary.
Next, Bunting carved a wooden crucifix, made inscriptions to fellow old Amplefordian Hugh Dormer (killed 1944), poet Michael Fenwick (1941) and Michael Allmand (1944), and designed three stained-glass windows.
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This remarkable chapel is open on certain days — the website at www.johnbunting.co.uk has details.
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