A record exists that on the outside of the building over the steps was the badge of a rose and crown and over the door the impaled arms of England and France.
When King Henry VIII landed at Dover in 1532 after his visit to Calais with Anne Boleyn to meet King Francis I he made an offering of 6s 8d at the chapel; his return had been delayed for several days by stormy seas and as it was the royal ship apparently took twenty eight hours to make the journey. The King may well have been very thankful to be back safe and sound.
The chapel was served in 1535 by John de Ponte, a Friar, who sought appointment as Master of the town’s Domus Dei from Thomas Cromwell that year. In 1538 he was imprisoned by the Mayor of Dover, Ralph Buffkyn, because he was said to communicate with the French during the war by keeping lights burning in the chapel at night.
I find the idea of the Mayor acting as a sixteenth century equivalent of an ARP warden rather endearing.
At the suppression of the chapel it was valued at £50pa and the vestments and plate valued at 200marks (£133 6s 8d), so it was not an inconsequential foundation and presumably reflected the offerings in anticipation or gratitude for seaborne travellers for a safe crossing of the Straits.
Work at the harbour undermined the rock, and the chapel was probably carried away in a storm of 1576. The place where it stood was still called in 1798 Old Chapel and Chapel Plain but by 1828 nothing remained save the bare rock on which had once stood.. The burying ground was still extant in 1819.
With thanks to Arthur Hussey ‘Chapels in Kent’ in Archaeologia Cantiana (online).
Our Lady of Pity in the Rock at Dover, pray for us