Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Bamburgh, St Aiden

St Aiden

There has most likely been a church here since around AD635, when St Aiden is said to have built a wooden church just beyond the castle's walls. St Aiden of Lindesfarne was an Irish monk who is widely credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. He was the first Bishop of Lindesfarne after founding a cathedral there, and travelled extensively across England preaching the gospel amongst the Saxon nobility and the working classes. The period in which St Aiden brought Christianity back to the fore, saw Anglo Saxon pagan beliefs battling for superiority across the country. With the patronage of King Oswald of Northumbria, St Aiden was able to build churches and leave behind a Christian legacy that fulfilled the church's desire to re-establish itself across the North of England, eventually usurping the pagan beliefs that were taking root amongst the towns and villages of the day. 

Above. A view of the church from the West, with the castle in the background.

Bede tells us that St Aiden died here at Bamburgh in AD652, and a beam inside the present day church traditionally is said to be where he was laid when he had died. The building we see today, dates from the late 1100s, with a smattering of pre-1066 stone work in evidence throughout. The Chancel is said to be the second longest in England, and was added in 1230, no doubt to add grandeur to an already important church. 

The best views of the church are to be had from the B1342 travelling West out of Bamburgh. The castle and church look magnificent against the backdrop of the North Sea.

Satterthwaite, All Saints

All Saints

I absolutely hate Lakeland slate as a building material....so when I see a church built utilising this unforgiving material it does nothing to endear me to it. That said, I like the form this church takes....squat and sturdy, as if it's bracing itself against the Lakedistrict weather.

Satterthwaite had its own chapel of ease from the late 16th century, with the main parish church being in Hawkshead. The chapel was rebuilt in 1675 by Daniel Rawlinson, from London, from a family living at Grizedale Hall.

The first church was built in 1837 by Montague Ainslie, a local forester and businessman, and later Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire (1852) It was built in the Early English style, with a narrow, square tower, single bell and gallery over the West end of the church.

All Saints became independent in 1881 and was later renovated at a cost of £450 in 1888. This work saw the roof and windows altered, and the gallery removed. 

In 1914, the church was largely rebuilt, the works costing £1800, and involving the addition of the larger square tower we see today. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Low Wray, St Margaret

St Margaret
Low Wray

I'm not usually a fan of Victorian architecture....it's mostly staid, functional and a little square for my liking. However....this little church, more of a family\estate chapel really is a Cumbrian gem. It can be found on the drive leading up to Wray Castle, just behind the gatehouse.

Above. St Margaret from the drive way to Wray Castle. 

Built in 1856 by James Dawson, the church was primarily for the use of the family, estate workers and staff at the castle. It was consecrated in 1861. James Dawson, a retired surgeon from Liverpool, established the extensive estates centered around Wray Castle, with the church as its spiritual core, using his wife's fortune.

James died in 1875, and the estates passed to his nephew Preston Rawnsley. Harwick Rawnsley, one of Preston's cousins, served as vicar of St Margarets from 1877.

The church is no longer used for public services and is now in private ownership.

Above. Wray Castle.

Wray Castle lies a few hundred yards away. A visit just to experience this Victorian oddity is highly recommended.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Shoreham-by-Sea, St Mary de Haura

St Mary de Haura
West Sussex

Brighton, Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity
East Sussex

Lancing, St James the Less

St James the Less
West Sussex

This beautiful church can be found in Lancing in West Sussex (the old Saxon village of North Lancing) The building was listed as Grade I in 1954, and is one of only seven such listed buildings in the whole of the Adur district. Before the 11th century, North Lancing and South Lancing were the two most important manors in the area, Unusually, with such a large agricultural population, no church is recorded for this area. It's thought that a church was finally established on this site sometime around 1120....a date that corresponds with historical analysis of some masonry found in the Chancel. 

Sometime around 1180, an arched doorway was built, now incorporated into the South porch (shown below)

Above. The South porch with its late 12th century arch)

The church underwent a huge rebuild between 1280 and 1300, resulting in the form and shape that we see today. A stair turret was added to the tower in the 15th century (shown on the photo below) By 1621, after the tower had started to collapse, the rest of the building was in serious decay, and by 1662, it was declared unusable. 

Above. The shortened tower with its distinct Sussex cap (roof)

When the tower started to collapse in 1618, its height was reduced, resulting in the shorter, squat tower seen today. Originally it would have had a parapet at its top, but this was destroyed and after repairs were made, a 'Sussex cap' roof was added. 

It wasn't until the late 18th century that any serious effort was undertaken to repair the building and bring it back into use. A vestry was added in 1934. The 19th century restoration was undertaken at the personal expense of the vicar at the time, Thomas Nash.

Unfortunately the church was not open on my visit.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

St Andrew, Penrith - treasures and stained glass windows

St Andrew

St Andrews in Penrith contains and displays an eclectic collection of memorials, historical artefacts and of course stained glass.

Above. The sundial above the main door into church through the tower. 

During the 1722 rebuild and refurbishment of the church, it was decided that the Chancel should be decorated with murals. A local artist by the name of Reed (no first name known) was employed to decorate either side of the altar. To the right of the altar Reed painted a life-size image of St Andrew carrying his saltire cross. To the left of the altar Reed painted a scene representing Jesus performing a miracle in front of an audience of worshippers. In the space between the tip of the arch and church roof, Reed painted a small choir of angels. Over the years, the inclement Cumbrian weather managed to penetrate the church walls, eventually obliterating Reed's work until it was almost gone. Unfortunately for us, there seems to be pictorial record of his work. 

Above. Part of Jacob Thompson's mural - "The agony in the Garden of Gethsemane" 

When the church was again refurbished, this time in 1845, the church council decided that Reed's badly damaged murals should be replaced with fresh paintings. Another local artist, Jacob Thompson, was commissioned to create these works of art. It is thought that the painting took around six months, and Jacob received payment of 100 guineas for what is widely regarded as the pinnacle of his artistic career. The painting shown above, depicts "The agony in the Garden of Gethsemane" where Jesus prayed after the Last Supper. 

Above. Part of Jacob Thompson's mural - The angel telling the shepherds about the birth of Christ 

The left hand painting shows an angel telling the shepherds about the birth of Chris. Jacob painted real life people that he knew from Penrith into his paintings. In this particular scene, he painted Robert Bailey as the shepherd with the red shawl. Bailey was an official in the House of Commons in London. Michael Mounsey of Town Head was painted as the bald shepherd on the left at the back of the group. The boy with his arm raised towards the angel, was actually a young woman, who posed for Jacob. The man sleeping on the right side of the scene, was reputedly a traveller whom Jacob persuaded to sit for him whilst he painted him into his mural. The landscape in which the scene is set, was reputedly based on Pooley Bridge with Ullswater in the background.

Above. The 1613 bible

St Andrew's 1613 bible was used for all its services right up until 1722. It was restored in 1984, and now resides within the safety of a glass case. 

Above. The 1870 T.H. Harrison organ. 

The T.H. Harrison organ replaced an earlier organ that was purchased for the church in 1799. The new organ was introduced to the church in 1870. A vestry was built beneath it and required the removal of two stone pillars. These were moved to the West door. In 1888, the organ was rebuilt by Wilkinsons of Kendal at a cost of around £400. After the rebuild by Wilkinsons, the organ was said to be 'one of the finest church organs in the North of England'. Up until 1900, the organ was powered by a hand pump. Wilkinsons a hydraulic engine in 1899, costing £95. In 1920, the organ was converted to an electric organ, costing £913.  1971 saw yet another rebuild of the organ, this time by Jardines of Manchester. 

Above. The old Parish chest. 

The old Parish chest, shown above, can be found at the top of the stairs from the tower. Like most chests of this kind, important Parish, church and perhaps legal documentation would have been kept safe here, behind four locks. 

Above. The Cheesbrough Clock.

The Cheesbrough clock was installed in the church tower during the 1722 rebuild, replacing an earlier clock that is thought to have dated from sometime around 1655. It was built by Aaron Cheesbrough, and bears the date 1712. Cheesbrough learnt his trade in London under William Clement, creating this beautiful clock for the church at a cost of £16.

Above. The Cheesbrough Clock and it's working.

Up until a few years ago, the clock lay in pieces. It was only relatively recently that it was restored to working order and placed back in the tower.

Above. The old church font of 1661, as it was in 2007.

The 1661 font was originally found in a garden in Benson's Row. When I visited in 2007, it lay on the floor at the top of the stairs from the tower, dirty and otherwise forgotten.

Above.  The old church font of 1661, restored and re-used, as seen in 2012.

When I visited the church again in 2012, the 1661 font had been cleaned and mounted on a stone pedestal and was once again being used as a font. It was most likely removed from use during the 1772 rebuild.

 Above. The Royal Coats of Arms.

The photo above, shows the Royal Coats of Arms of George I. After the Reformation in England, it became a legal requirement for all churches to display the Royal Coats of Arms of the current monarch. The display of these armorial boards and flags, would remind the congregation that the Pope was no longer the head of the Church in England.

 Above. The East\Chancel window, surrounded by the Jacob Thompson murals.

The Chancel\East window was created in 1870, and is dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Harrison, and was paid for by a mixture of public subscription and his two sisters. The window was produced by Hardman and Powell of Birmingham, who are famous for creating windows for the Houses of Parliament in London. 

Above. The Christ Church window in the South wall of the Nave. 

The Christ Church window dates from around 1868, and is dedicated to the memory of the Rev. William Holme Milner. The Rev. Milner was an instrumental in obtaining funding for the building of nearby Christ Church. Indeed, the figure at the very top of the window, dressed in white vestments, is the Rev. Milner with a model of Christ Church in his hands.

Above. Window depicting Faith.

Above. Possibly a relatively modern window.

Above. Window depicting the crucifiction.

Above. Window depicting Jesus after the crucifiction.

The window shown above, shows Jesus after his resurrection. In the background Calgary can be seen with the three crosses, and if you look closely, Jesus bears the marks of his crucifiction on his hands and feet.

Above. Window depicting St Andrew with his saltire flag in the Lady Chapel. 

The window shown above, depicts the patron saint of this church, St Andrew, carrying his traditional saltire cross. This window holds a prominent position in the Lady Chapel\St Mary's Chapel, in the North East corner of the Nave.

Above. The Neville window in the South wall of the Nave. 

The Neville window can be found in the South wall of the Nave. It is made up of a few fragments of a much older window, thought likely to have come from the original church here. The fragments were incorporated into a new window in the 19th century. The few pieces that remain survived a fire of that occurred during the 17th century.

Above. Detail of the Neville window depicting Cicely Neville, Duchess of York. 

The window shown above, depicts Cicely Neville, the wife of Richard, Duke of York....rightful heir to the English throne. She was the daughter, sister, aunt and mother of four successive Lords of Penrith. Her face shown in the window is one of the remaining parts of the original window. Below Cicely can be seen Richard's personal emblem, the bear and ragged staff.

Above. Detail of the Neville window depicting Richard, Duke of York. 

The portion of the Neville window shown above, depicts Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. Richard was the rightful heir to the throne, but was killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460. Again, the face depicting Richard, is one of the surviving pieces of the original window.

Above. The Richard II window in the North wall of the Nave. 

This has to be one of the most fascinating windows I've ever seen. It's clearly a collection of medieval glass that has survived in a fragmented state. Rumour would have us believe that the many pieces may have come from windows originally in Penrith Castle. 

Above. Detail of the Richard II window showing Richard II as king (far left) 

The most intriguing section of glass is the figure on the far left hand side of the portion of this window shown above. It is thought to depict Richard II. Richard was responsible for gifting the manor of Penrith to the Neville family in 1397.

Above. Detail of the Richard II window, showing an angel (far right)

The lower portion of the window is a replica of the original glass. These pieces were largely destroyed or damaged further by vandals some years ago. Of particular note, is the angel at the far right of the window.

Credit: Information from "A History and Guide to St. Andrew's Church, Penrith" by Simon D.I. Flemming (1997)