The College of God's Gift
was consecrated in 1616 by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, as
the Dulwich College foundation. The Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn built his College of God's
Gift (comprising chapel, school and almshouses) on Dulwich Green as an act of thanksgiving to
God for his talents as an actor and his ability in business. Since then it has been in use
continually as a spiritual focus for the almshouses and three Dulwich Schools of the Foundation:
Dulwich College, James Allen's Girls' School and Alleyn's School.
specific provision it has also been available as a place of worship for
of Dulwich Village. This was important when Dulwich was a far-flung outpost of the Parish of
Camberwell. The establishment in 1915 of the Parish of St. Barnabas, Dulwich made possible a
closer association between the Chapel and the wider Church. This was further consolidated in
1957 when the Vicar of St Barnabas was also licensed as Foundation Chaplain of Alleyn's College
of God's Gift.
A service of
thanksgiving and celebration was held on Sunday 5 March 2000 to mark the
of Christ's Chapel of Alleyn's College of God's Gift in Gallery Road, Dulwich following major
refurbishment. The service was led by the Reverend Dianna Gwilliams. A combined choir from
Christ's Chapel and St. Barnabas Church was directed by John Carnelley and the organist was
William McVicker. A packed congregation represented regular worshippers from both the chapel
and the church.
original design round three sides of a quadrangle remains, both the
exterior of the building have been considerably altered over the years. Severe bomb damage
during the Second World War necessitated major rebuilding of the main roof structure and other
parts of the building. Some reordering was carried out in 1976.
A completely new
Vestry area, including robing area, WC and kitchen, has been created in
conjunction with Dulwich Picture Gallery which shares some of the facilities. Users of the Chapel
also have shared use of new lavatory facilities for the disabled and a second Vestry, in the
Picture Gallery's adjoining buildings.
The organ, built by George England in 1759 and thought to be the oldest surviving example of this famous organ-builder's work, has been fully restored and was rededicated on 27 September 2009. The copy of Raphael's Transfiguration which hangs on the north wall, thought to have been painted by one of his assistants, has been cleaned by Richard Pelter at the International Fine Arts Conservation Studio in Bristol, courtesy of Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Barnabas Parish Office
40 Calton Avenue, London, SE21 7DG
020 8693 1524