A few years ago, there was a proposal to get monuments adopted by groups or individuals under an “Adopt a monument” scheme, to keep them from becoming overgrown. The scheme seems to be working in Scotland but has fallen from view in the rest of the country? This happened just as I visited Keble Martin’s Chapel for the first time on 5 Aug. 2010 and was disappointed at the overgrown state it was then in.

After discussion with the DPA, discussions were held with Dartmoor National Park Authority, Dartmoor Commoners Council, Dean Moor Commoners and the land owner. Permission was given for the clearing of vegetation from the chapel – but no digging! I returned to start the task on 31 Aug. 2010. This was described on the DPA web site under Conservation at Keble Martin’s Chapel. This has been a yearly objective ever since.

A rather late visit was made today, 14 Sept. 2013, and I was pleasantly surprised to find less growth than I expected. Was this the result of the cool, wet spring and the hot weather during the summer? Or, does regular cutting have an effect on the vigour of the bracken? The bracken growth on this site is generally not vigorous.

Keble Martin's Chapel, 2013, before clearing vegetation.

Keble Martin’s Chapel, 2013, before clearing vegetation.
Click the image to see a larger version – applies to all photos

The view is approximately from the west. The small cross is incised on the white stone seen at the extreme left.

Keble Martin's Chapel, 2013, after clearing vegetation.

Keble Martin’s Chapel, 2013, after clearing vegetation.

On the advice of a local farmer, this time I pulled the bracken out of the ground instead of cutting it. Apparently, this is more effective. I have been told this before, by a Lady!

The cross in the chapel.

The cross in the chapel.

There is a description of the cross on the Dartmoor Crosses web site.

Another item of interest in the chapel is the ChiRho stone, this being a long-standing Christian symbol, shown in the photograph below …..

The Chi-Rho stone, an ancient symbol of Christianity.

The Chi-Rho stone, an ancient symbol of Christianity.

The ChiRho stone was completely hidden under grass when I first visited the chapel and it was quite a thrill to uncover it during the first clearing exercise in 2010.

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The alignment of the chapel.

The photograph above illustrates an aspect of the alignment of the chapel, with the compass placed centrally on the ChiRho stone in line with the cross. Christian churches generally face the east‘ish – a recent survey found a mean alignment of 86° true, although this varies from 80.4° in Cornwall to 92.4 in Kent. This chapel faces 20° true, almost north! This was quite possibly dictated by the lie of the land where it is built, among tinners’ waste.

Finally, two further comparison photographs …..

Before clearing vegetation.

Before clearing vegetation.

These photographs are taken looking south-west, towards the old wheel pit down the valley of the Western Wella Brook.

After clearing vegetation.

After clearing vegetation.

To be truthful, this was really too late in the season to have much effect on the bracken, it was mostly hard-stemmed and some was dying off, although there were still a few young fronds growing: however, visits are governed by other events and commitments. The bottom line is that the chapel seems to be in a better condition now than it was in 2010.