Silent Sunday….. Off to Church

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Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

The Abbey Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the buildings  official name today……  but will always be known as Tewkesbury Abbey. It was once a Benedictine Monastery, dating back to the 12th century.   Like so many of our old religious buildings it was built on a even earlier site of religious worship.

Tewkesbury Abbey is a fine example of Norman Architecture, in particular the Cross Transept Tower is claimed  to be the biggest in Europe.   With Tewkesbury standing  on the flood plain of Severn and Avon, its tall tower is a clear landmark for many miles.

Like all our old religious buildings Tewkesbury Abbey has seen some violent and testing times over the centuries.  During the “War of The Roses” ( 1455 -1487) witnessed this violent period of English history at close hand.  After the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 the Abbey provided sanctuary for the Lancastrian forces.  Then it had to overcome the challenges of the Dissolution of the Monasteries  that occurred by Royal Order between 1536 & 41.  It was at this time that the Abbey became the Parish Church.

Apart from being the Parish Church, Tewkesbury Abbey is also a major tourist attraction, the centre of a equally attractive Town in an equally attractive location. Tewkesbury nestles below the  higher ground of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire’s rather fabulous countryside.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

9th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Sunday Reflection…. and a Memory

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One part of Facebook that I rather like, are the ‘reminder’ of events from a year previous.  The reminder that popped up this morning was of a visit to Ilam Church.  I thought that not only is this a fantastic piece of Art, hidden away in a side chapel of a country church…but also a message for today fragile environment we live in….. that family is precious as are the memories created.

So here is a repeat of  the  Facebook post from this day in 2019.

We were over at Ilam Village (Staffordshire) and paid a visit to the Church of the Holy Cross. Within the church is a Chapel that was added to accommodate a rather distinctive memorial. It is dedicated to David Pike-Watt (d1816) one time owner of Ilam Hall. It is the work of Sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey and represents Pike-Watt with his Daughter Mary and her 3 daughters. I thought it both beautiful and striking in a dramatic setting. It is I guess a hidden secret of Ilam

 

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

2nd August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So off to Church

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Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire

At first glance you could be fooled into thinking Southwell Minster was a relatively modern building….those twin spires are very contemporary in style.  In some ways you would be correct and others very wrong.  There was a religious building here in Anglo Saxon times.  Records of a building date to 627 and possibly earlier.  Then in 1108  the Norman’s started a reconstruction programme. I guess the main structure is very much part of that.  But history was to see many other changes and disasters at Southwell.

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You do need to google the full history, but in a very simple outline here are some key facts.  In the English Civil War the Minster was much abused, with the nave being used as stabling and other parts of the building as soldier accommodation.  Charles 1st was also capture in Southwell.  Just as the Minster was being restored in 1711, one of the Spires was hit by lightening, the resulting fire caused extensive damage.

1720 repairs again were started,  some suggest that these repairs were very poor.  A new programme of change was started and in 1805   the spires were removed in.  Extensive restoration and architectural changes followed..  The Barrel Vaulting to the nave was added and the then in 1879 the twin spires were erected…… the spires that make Southwell’s exterior so distinctive.

Much of the restoration over the years has maintained its traditional original style, but   sympathetically adding,  a mix of the ancient with a slightly more modern look. All in all Southwell Minster is well worth a visit, as is a serious dig back into its rather troublesome history…… but here is a taster.

The Minster has many great glass windows.  One of the most dramatic windows is one of those more modern additions.   It is known as the Angel Window (or maybe that should be window’s).  Installed in 1996 it is the work of Artist Patrick Reyntiens.   I said dramatic…..  but maybe awe inspiring in design and craftsmanship would be a more fitting  description.

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Maybe another location for your bucket list for when times are easier.

In the meantime…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

14th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… Off To Church

It is some years since I started the occasional Sunday ‘Off to Church’  postings.  When I started I made the point that it was not as a result of any religious commitment  nor would I make any religious comment.

Churches, in the widest concept, includes Chapels, Abbey’s , Cathedrals, Places of Worship of any Faith….. have and are a part of our communities.  All provide a light on our Historical Heritage.  Building, culture and faith all in one location.  These religious building, probably more than any other construction, provide a direct link back to our earliest recorded history, buildings that today are still used as they were many many centuries ago.

One such Church we visited many years ago, is the very tiny Church of Saint Boniface.

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The Church is located on the Isle of Wight in the village of Bonchurch.  There has been a settlement here almost since time began.  Stone Age settlements and Roman occupation have been recorded.   The Domes Day Book records the name of Bonercerce.   It is in the 8th century that Saint Boniface arrives on the island. Saint Boniface built a strong following in the area and in the 9th century a wooden church was built.  It is believed to be an older site of worship.  This first church was dedicated to Boniface.

It is on this same site that  in the 11th century a small stone church was built.

That church still exists and is used today….  a direct and continuous historical ink.

Over the centuries there have been some modifications.  A Bell Cote with Bell were added in the 16th century.  Then in the 19th century a Porch Doorway was added.

What hasn’t changed is  that services and weddings can be held by candle light as no electricity has been added.  Yes, the Church is still in use today.

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The Church is also referred to in Bonchurch as ” Old Saint Boniface Church”. That definition is important.  As the population and importance of Bonchurch grew and NEW Saint Boniface Church was built and opened in 1848.  There followed some talk of demolishing the Old Saint Boniface, thankfully common sense prevailed.  Special occasional services, including weddings, continue the link between Saint Boniface’s and the community.

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To stand in this nave and look around, you stand in history.  You stand in the shadows of so many that have come before you, to stand in this very spot.  It may well be small by comparison to say a Cathedral,  but  it is equally as inspiring and full of a special aura.

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If you ever visit the Isle of Wight, and amongst all the island treasures and beauty spots, do find time to head to Bonchurch.  Find the narrow  wooded lane that leads down the hillside and discover this little gem of history.

Maybe, no matter if you are religious or not,  spare some time to evaluate the times we currently live in today…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

31st May

(C) David Oakes 2020