THE brief was challenging to say the least, with the architect required to create “not just a building but a work of art, and one which would touch the spirit”.

The new chapel at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, needed to reflect the importance of the historic theological college five miles outside Oxford, where generations of men and women have trained for ordination into the Anglican Church.

When the new Edward King Chapel was blessed last Friday afternoon, and the keys ceremonially handed over outside the new chapel doors, not one but three bishops were in attendance – with the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard joined by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, and the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham.

The chapel is an unusual oval shape, with curved laminated columns and beams supporting the roof.

Holding 120 people, it has taken 18 months to complete.

The dedication of the chapel marked the end of a £6.5m building programme to meet the needs of Christian education in the 21st century. Another new building, Harriet Monsell House, incorporating a lecture theatre and student accommodation, opened last autumn.

College principal Prof Martyn Percy said: “It is wonderful to be able to celebrate such a dynamic, new education centre, alongside one of the first new chapels to be built in the 21st century.”

The chapel is named in honour of Edward King, a curate in Wheatley, who became principal and vicar of Cuddesdon from 1863 until 1873, when he was appointed the first Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford.