The Little Chapel
The Little Chapel was a work of art and labour of love built by Brother Déodat, who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. The version you see today is actually the third version.
The first, measuring a tiny 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was criticised, so Brother Deodat spent the following night demolishing the building. He soon set to work again and, in July 1914, the grotto was completed and officially blessed. This survived until September 1923; Brother Deodat demolished it in that month because the Bishop of Portsmouth had not been able to fit through the doorway.
He soon set about the construction of a third chapel - which we see today. The building operation proved laborious, collecting pebbles and broken china to decorate the shrine. Then suddenly the Little Chapel became famous, thanks to an illustrated article in the Daily Mirror. Presents poured in from around the world and Islanders brought coloured china to Les Vauxbelets with the Lieutenant-Governor offering a remarkable mother-of-pearl.
In 1939 Brother Deodat returned to France because of ill health. After his departure the care of the Little Chapel was entrusted to Brother Cephas, who continued to decorate the building until his retirement in 1965. In 1977, a committee was established to restore the chapel and today it falls under the care of Blanchelande College.
There is no charge to enter the Chapel as it relies totally on public donations. The Little Chapel is a must visit during your trip to Guernsey, and makes for a great photo opportunity.
Please note, that The Little Chapel is currently being renovated with scaffolding remaining for the rest of 2016. The scaffolding has been configured to allow access to the Chapel entrance and signage directs visitors via the path from Martyn Guille's Clock-makers and Jewlry shop end of the site to the Chapel. The nature of the works being undertaken may result in disruption to access from time to time.
The restoration will involve some significant improvements to the infrastructure. Martyn Guille, Silversmiths and Fine Jewellers, which is also located at Les Vauxbelets, is not affected by these works and will remain open.