Work begins to uncover one of Britain's oldest chapels

A 5th century chapel that was buried 30 years ago in Cornwall is being uncovered. It's believed to be the oldest in Britain.

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Work underway to uncover Britain's oldest chapel

Work to uncover what is believed to be Britain's oldest chapel has begun.

It follows a 15 year campaign to uncover the oratory which was buried 30 years ago in a sand dune near Perranporth in Cornwall to protect it from the elements.

The Oratory in 1910 Credit: Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service

However experts now believe it is at risk in the sand and needs to be uncovered.

Volunteers from all over the country are joining archeologists and excavators to help dig and uncover the ancient chapel. They will be digging for the next four weeks.

The oratory with a fence between 1892 and 1909 Credit: Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service

The 5th century building is located in one of the most ecologically sensitive sites in Europe, which means it took longer than expected to obtain the various legal permissions to excavate the building, which is encased in a concrete shell.

Modern day Pilgrims near Perranporth Credit: Ian Saltern - St Piren Trust

The project is supported by Cornwall Council, Perranzabuloe Parish Council, English Heritage, Heritage Lottery, Cornwall Heritage Trust, the Duke of Cornwall and private donors.

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