Mary Watts looked to Christian Celtic art for her decorative relief patterns around the Chapel. To this she added elements of nature and her own poetry of thought; and retaining the symmetry of the Celts, she softened their rigid geometric patterns with sinuous Art Nouveau forms. Transepts forming the Cross of Faith pierce through the Chapel’s circular walls.
Oak encased in chestnut with wrought-iron mounts, the doors represent Man’s destiny. The iron hinges symbolise the sail – the Breath of Life – with a T-shaped mast in the form of a Tau cross, the legendary sign painted on their doors by the Children of Israel to protect their first-born sons from the destroying angel. Mary Watts took great delight in paying the Compton blacksmith, Clarence Sex, the sum of £21 5s for this unusual contribution to his village heritage.
Beneath the three receding pillars of the Romanesque style doorway, base mouldings are intended to suggest a half-crushed evil with closed eyes. The letters ‘I AM’, interwoven into the central pillar, symbolise God the Creator and guard the kneeling man on the adjacent pillars. A choir of 15 angels looks down in sympathy and upwards in hope.
The frieze encircling the Chapel beneath its dome symbolizes the ‘Path of the Just’. A pattern of trees with mice and small animals creeping through its roots and birds of peace perched on its branches suggests the Path, which is divided into four sections – the Spirit of Hope, Truth, Love and Light. The peacock is the bird of Hope on the southeast section. Following the path round to the southwest the wise owl symbolizes the Truth. Continuing along the Path of the Just, the pelican symbolizes Love. At the end of the path is Light, the circle of light surrounded by the sun and stars.
A gabled campanile stands above the south transept. The 31 inch bell rings the note ‘C’ – as low as its size allowed – and is inscribed with the words chosen by the donor, George Frederic Watts, ‘Be my voice neither feared nor forgotten’