The environmental conditions of the Chapel are causing significant issues to the fabric of the building, including plaster and paint damage, the environment as it is now is not suitable for the preservation of the monument. Fabric heating (not comfort heating) will be installed to ensure that the environment is made more suitable. Adding doors will also reduce the air change.
New lighting will also be installed to allow visitors to view the finer details of the Chapel and the monument. The Chapel was altered from Vanbrugh’s original design, first by the 1st Earl of Godolphin who repositioned the high alter to the west. Other alterations took place in the 19th Century, so all the furnishings that you see today are Victorian additions.
The monument was created by Sarah, the 1st Duchess to honour her husband after his death. She insisted that the Chapel remain plain to focus attention on this large monument. She chose to portray the Duke as a victorious hero, dressed as a Roman general. Sarah is there with him and their two sons who both sadly died young. Their four daughters are not in the family group. The Chapel is still used by the Duke and his family for private services and ceremonies.