Historic chapel in Dorset damaged in suspected break-in attempt

The 14th century St Catherine's Chapel near Abbotsbury is still used for a number of services a year. Credit: Historic England Photo Library

Police are investigating damage to a 14th century chapel in Dorset.

It is thought the lock and door to St Catherine's Chapel at Abbotsbury were damaged by someone trying to break in to the grade one listed building.

It happened at some time on Saturday 24 September and officers are urging anyone with information to get in touch.

Police Community Support Officer Chris Mullens, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: "We take reports of heritage crime very seriously and this incident has involved damage to a historic and much-loved building.

The chapel door was damaged on Saturday 24 September. Credit: Dorset Police

“We are carrying out enquiries into this matter and I would urge anyone with information that might assist our investigation to please come forward.”

The chapel, which is managed by English Heritage, was created as a place of pilgrimage and retreat by monks from nearby Abbotsbury Abbey in the late 14th century.

It was built on a hill overlooking Chesil beach and Portland harbour and is described as offering 'splendid isolation'. It also acts as a landmark for seafarers.

The chapel used to act as a Lent retreat for monks and still holds occasional services. Credit: Google Streetview

A number of services are still held throughout the year, which are open to the public.

Anyone with information about the damage is asked to contact Dorset Police, quoting reference number 55220158176. They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously.