Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Savoy Chapel, London

Norman Davies magnificent Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe explains the street names around the venue for the Candidates chess tournament in London:
Thanks to a common rivalry with France, however, Sabaudia developed a special relationship with England and in 1236, Count Pierre II travelled to London with his niece Eleanor of Provence, for her marriage to King Henry III. 
Known in England as the earl of Richmond, the count became one of the king's favourites and leader of an influential court faction. In 1246 Henry III granted the Savoyards a manor on the bank of the Thames, halfway between the City of London and Westminster. 
This Savoy Manor gave rise to a thriving district, graced in due course by the Savoy Palace, the Savoy Chapel and the Savoy Hotel.
Wandering the streets behind the tournament venue before play began, I came across the Savoy Chapel. The Duchy of Lancaster website explains its history and current role:
The Chapel is the last surviving building of a hospital founded by Henry VII for homeless people in 1512. It stands on the area of London known as the Savoy. 
The Chapel belongs to Her Majesty The Queen in Her Right as Duke of Lancaster. It is a ‘free’ chapel or ‘peculiar’ not falling within any bishop’s jurisdiction, but remaining firmly within the Church of England. 
The Chapel remains an important part of the Savoy Estate, the Duchy of Lancaster’s principal London land holding. It continues to provide spiritual service to the community, as it has done for nearly 500 years.

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