St Werburgh's Chapel

St Werburgh's Chapel, located on St Werburgh's Road, Mount Barker, with it's fascinating historical origins and bell tower prominent architecture is well worth a visit. For a complete experience, visitors are advised to take the St Werburgh's Tourist Drive by accessing St Werburgh's Road from Muirs Highway. This route will take you on a winding gravel road that snakes its way along a beautifully scenic, tree shaded valley floor walled by vineyards, dotted with places of interest and includes a concrete bridged stream crossing.
The Chapel, open 7 days per week from 10:30am to 4pm, is still in use today with Holy Communion celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in the month, commencing at 11:00am. Weddings and baptisms are also conducted. Contact Glenyse Robertson on (08) 9851 2772.

Origins

The Chapel is dedicated to and derives its name from Saint Werburgh, a 7th Century AD English Abbess who was born about 659 AD and died around 699 AD. Saint Werburgh was the daughter of Wulfere, King of Mercia and the third Abbess of Ely, decedent of the Saxon queens.

Legend

St Werburgh is attributed with the miracle of restoring the life of a goose. The legend tells of a flock of wild geese that were penned for the night for devouring the corn and fruits of Weedon. The goose had been stolen by one of her servants but by virtue of St Werburgh’s benediction, the bird was restored and flew away “fulsome”.

History

In 1836 George Edward Egerton-Warburton, a young lieutenant of the 51st Regiment, arrived in Albany.
A little later, he sold his commission and returned to Albany where he married and thereafter settled at Saint Werburgh’s.
In 1872 he received he received £550 from his eldest brother, the Squire of Arley Cheshire, for the building of a Chapel at St Werburgh’s.
With the help of artisans the building was completed in 1837 and Bishop Hale consecrated the Chapel on the 21st June, 1874.
The walls were made of clay plug and the roof of shingles, probably sheoak. An Albany carpenter undertook the woodwork, using local sheoak and jarrah. The ironwork was made in the family forge and the font had been the family mortar.

Preservation

As with all old buildings, preservation and restoration work has been an ongoing concern.
The walls, floor, roof, bell tower and drainage have all had attention and some of these need more work undertaken.
In order to help maintain these commitments a Restoration Fund has been established to preserve this Chapel for future generations.
St Werburgh is attributed with the miracle of restoring the life of a goose.
The legend tells of a flock of wild geese that were penned for the night for devouring the corn and fruits of Weedon. The goose had been stolen by one of her servants but by virtue of St Werburgh’s benediction, the bird was restored and flew away “fulsome”.
Last updated 09/01/2017
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