Chapel: Conditions of Hire and Hire Information

Information about the charges and booking procedure for Merton College Chapel

Making a Booking

When contacting the Chapel Administrator, please indicate the preferred dates for your event. The Chapel administrator may be able to give an early indication of whether those dates will be possible. Dates will be considered by the Chapel team on a weekly basis, after which the Chapel Administrator will contact you.

The Chapel Administrator will then send a form to be completed and returned within two weeks. Your event cannot go ahead if this form is not returned.

After the Event

The Bursary will send an invoice to the contact address indicated on the booking form. If a surcharge is required, the Chapel Administrator will write to the organiser to explain the reasons why.

Chapel Charges

Groups affiliated solely with Merton College may hire the Chapel free of charge. For other groups, the following rates (which include VAT) apply:

  External hire Student hire
Concert £455 £200
Extra rehearsal £25/hour £16/hour
Dobson Organ hire £175 £90
Chamber Organ hire £65 £35
Reception in Ante-Chapel £170 £85
Recording Fees £730/day on enquiry

The standard hire fee includes:

  • A three-hour rehearsal on the day. Additional rehearsal time can be arranged at the rate listed in the table above
  • Use of music stands and stage lights
  • Assistance of the Verger for the rehearsal and concert

Reception charge is for use of the building only, and does not include food or drink. This can be provided by Merton College – contact for more information.

Filming fees

These are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Chaplain and the Domestic Bursar.


These are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Chaplain.


Please contact the Chaplain ( for an information sheet detailing the procedure and charges.

Tuning of the Organ

If a special tuning of the Dobson Organ is required, this will be funded by the group hiring the Chapel and the invoice will be sent direct from Tickell Organ Builders to the relevant contact. To make arrangements for this extra tuning, please contact the Chapel Administrator.

The Chapel: Access, Facilities and Conditions of Use

Access to the Chapel

The entrance to the Chapel is through Mob Quad. By arrangement, the Chapel will be closed during recordings, but remain open to visitors during concert rehearsals.

Access to the Sacristy

The Sacristy is only available for use as a green room, though no food or drink (except water) may be consumed. The Verger will be able to provide access to the Sacristy when needed. The door is locked at all times.

The North Door

This is the door into the Chapel from Merton Street. It is always kept locked, but can be opened by arrangement with the Chapel Administrator in order to allow heavy or bulky loads to come through. For security reasons, this door must be manned at all times when open.

The Choir Library

This is the small room through which you will pass if entering the Sacristy from outside. It may not be used by groups using the Chapel or Sacristy.

The Choir Room (Mob 1.1)

This room is located opposite the door to the Sacristy. Use of Mob 1.1 as a green room is considered on a case by case basis.

The Lectern

The Chapel houses an extremely valuable Pre-Reformation Lectern. It is not on any account to be moved. Inexpert handling has often resulted in damage and hefty repair costs, which have always been passed on to the organisations responsible.

Music stands

These are kept in three rows in the Sacristy. If you use these, please make sure you return them and leave them neatly arranged.


The Chapel heating is on from September - April, but the building is a very cold environment. Please make sure your group and audience are aware and prepare suitably. We cannot supply any additional heaters or blankets, etc.

Eating and Drinking

This is never permitted in the main Chapel or Sacristy. Eating and drinking in the Ante-Chapel is strictly forbidden unless permission has been explicitly given at the time of booking. If permission has been given for a drinks reception in the Ante-Chapel, red wine must not be served. This is because it stains the stone if spilled.


Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building.


Chapel users and concert audiences may use the toilets on the ground floor of the Fitzjames Staircase in Front Quad (through the brown door diagonally opposite the Lodge).


Due to Merton College’s central location, parking facilities are very limited. Chapel users wishing to arrange parking should contact the Chapel Administrator well in advance of the event. The College is unable to guarantee that parking will be available. If parking is unavailable, Chapel users will need to make their own arrangements.

Setting up and Clearing up

This is your responsibility. If you wish to leave timpani, harpsichords, etc. to be collected on the following day please consult the Chapel Administrator first. Please note that the Verger is not expected to move furniture or tidy up after the Chapel has been used; their role is primarily supervisory.


If the Chapel, Ante-Chapel, Sacristy and any other rooms used are not left exactly as you found them and the security and other College requirements are not adhered to, a minimum surcharge of £50 will be added to your invoice and permission for their use is not likely to be granted again. Chapel users will also be held financially responsible for any damage caused to the building or its contents.

The Chapel candles

These are only used during services sung by the Choir of Merton College and are not to be lit for concerts. If members of the audience start lighting them you should have your ushers briefed to stop them.



Whilst we are not able to publicise your event, we are able to display a poster outside the Porters’ Lodge on the day of the concert. Flyers can also be put out in the Ante-Chapel in advance of your event.


In your publicity, you must include the sentence: ‘By kind Permission of the Warden and Scholars of the House or College of Scholars of Merton in the University of Oxford’.



Total capacity for the Chapel is 200 people. Additional seating in the Ante-Chapel (max capacity 80) is possible and can be arranged on a case by case basis in advance of the event. Please note that views from the Ante-Chapel are restricted in front of the organ and there is no view from either side. You are responsible for making your audience aware of this when selling tickets for Ante-Chapel seats.

The stalls

These hold 112 people, allowing 7 in each long pew.

Moveable benches

There are six moveable benches which may be placed in front of the stalls. They can comfortably fit 7 people each. You are responsible for moving these; moving each bench requires a minimum of three people.

Stacking chairs

If more seating is required, there are about 80 stacking chairs in the Sacristy and a further 40 in the Ante-Chapel.

The College cannot provide any other chairs for Chapel users. If more are required, Chapel users should make their own arrangements prior to the concert, and times for delivery and collection should be agreed with the Chapel Administrator.

Emergency Exits

The porch door and the door from the Sacristy to Mob Quad should remain clear of obstruction during all concerts and recordings. Chairs placed in the Ante-Chapel must never obstruct either of the exits. There must always be a clear aisle down the centre of Chapel.

View the space available

The Chapel is open to the public, and concert organisers are welcome to visit. The Chapel Administrator or Verger may be available to meet with the organiser in Chapel by request to discuss seating arrangements.

Chapel Plan

(maximum capacity 200)

Chapel Plan: showing location of stalls, benches, chairs, etc.

Alternative Chapel plans are available on request.