The Greenway Chapel is the ‘Jewel in St Peter’s Crown’ and has earned the Church its Grade I listing. It was built by John Greenway in 1517 as a chantry chapel (where prayers would be said for him and his wife Joan after their deaths). Their brasses are on the walls of the Chapel.
Who was Greenway?
John was a self made man and prominent citizen of Tiverton who became extremely wealthy through trading the woollen cloth known as kersey in Europe. He built his own fleet of merchant ships, which could also be requisitioned for war. He was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Drapers, which had a near monopoly on buying and selling cloth in London; he also belonged to the Merchant Venturers, which organised convoys of armed vessels sailing to the Continent to combat piracy.
What is there to see?
Carvings of John and Joan can be seen in the South Porch, alongside an Assumption of the Virgin Mary; the vaulted ceiling of the Porch is intricately carved with symbols of Greenway’s trade.
The outside of the Chapel has detailed carvings of ships in his fleet on a wavy sea, complete with cannons and archers; and anchors, ropes, bales of wool and animals, including monkeys, can be seen. At a higher level there are carvings of scenes from Christ’s life, and the coats of arms of John Greenway, the Merchant Venturers and the Drapers.
There is further information in the booklet about St Peter’s available in the Church.
In October 2017, St Peter’s was able to celebrate the completion of the repair of the Greenway Chapel. The afternoon began with tea and cake and concluded with presentations including a talk about the Chapel’s founder and his place in the history of Tiverton from Elizabeth Fathi, Chief Executive of the Tiverton Almshouse Trust. Her address can be found here: Talk for St Peter’s 15.10.17