The ruins of 16th Century Trinity Chapel, on the Eastern flanks of Highoredish, sit roofless and alone, largely hidden from view by the chestnut trees around it. A church was recorded on the site in the Domesday survey of 1086. The present Chapel is believed to have been a complete rebuild from the early 1500s and was the main place of worship for the village. Gladwyn Turbutt wrote, "it is not unlikely that Hugh Willoughby, Sergeant at Arms to Henry VIII, rebuilt Trinity Chapel as a memorial to his wife Margaret, who died in 1511." The chapel came under the jurisdiction of the rectors of Morton. It had the rights of baptism and marriage, but not of burial, explaining the lack of gravestones surrounding it.”
Even in 17th century the location of the chapel was considered inconvenient and there were calls for a new church nearer the centre of the village. However, this did not happen for another two hundred years, until Gladwin Turbutt, the last Victorian squire in Derbyshire, donated the site for a new parish church. The chapel was finally abandoned in 1857, following the consecration of Holy Trinity Church, Brackenfield. Grade 11 listed Trinity Chapel is currently on Historic England's "at risk" register.
This romantic ruin has been the back drop for recent pre-wedding photos and was used as a location in the 2017 film "Hex", a low-budget, supernatural thriller set during the English Civil War (Rubicon Films - Producer: Jonathan Russell)
Spade Lane - an ancient way
The Hollow Way (Spade Lane) leading toward Trinity Chapel is a possible survivor of a Roman/mediaeval road and track network linking Rykneld Street with Highoredish and Cold Harbour Lane.The spring, under the wall by the roadside, was an important water source for Brackenfield until mains water was installed during the 1930s. When the wells on the Green dried up, villagers had to fetch water from this spring for all their daily needs. It is likely that earlier settlers also based themselves near this water source and the chapel could be situated on an earlier religious site.
Listen to this account of attending the Chapel and collecting water from the spring.
Climb the low stile and follow the footpath up the field and through a metal gate into Trinity Wood. Continue up the path keeping the wall on your left and passing the ruins of Trinity Chapel on your right. (Brackenfield PCC have said that this is a potentially hazardous structure and their advice is not to enter.) When you reach a metal farm gate, pass through it and turn immediately sharp right, following the footpath through a gate. Follow the white arrow sign taking a path diagonally across the field to a bench where you will find QR plaque 3.