Thursday, 25 February 2010
As a contrast to Tapper's work at Westminster here are some pictures of Sir Ninian Comper's Lenten array in Southwark Cathedral, photographed by SarumSleuth. Comper's array is near contemporary with that at Westminster and was added to the cathedral in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The high altar array (above) differs from much other array in it's use of colour, particularly the striking use of copper oxide green for the cross on the dossal and the floriation around the sacred monograms on the frontal.
When it came to the four altars in the retrochoir, Comper stuck with the more usual ox blood red. Comper's Lenten Array is much more delicate and florid than the array produced by others, notably by the Warham Guild.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
Click through to Flickr for more detailed views of each picture.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Stow Minster, the parish church of St Mary the Virgin of Stow, is an extremely important building. It's a building that dominates the small village to the north of Lincoln that surrounds it - in fact it dominates the whole countryside around it. The name Stow means 'holy place' and the village was an important centre for christian mission and worship from the Anglo-Saxon period. Stow was so important in former times that many of the villages around it have 'by Stow' added to their place names - Coates by Stow, Sturton by Stow, Willingham by Stow, Normanby by Stow.
By tradition the first church on this site was built in the late seventh century at a spot where St Etheldreda rested for a time while on a journey. The legend is that she planted her walking stick in the ground and it blossomed into a tree and in due course the church was built beside it. Stow is often identified as Sidnacaester, the cathedral of the Anglo-Saxon diocese of Lindsey, but that identification is possible, but sadly unprovable.
That's not the end of the story. The bishops of Lincoln owned a manor in Stow and they established a palace there. The palace of Stow Park was a favourite country retreat of sucessive bishops, including bishop Hugh of Avalon, St Hugh. It was at Stow that St Hugh made friends with the swan that was to become his attribute. The bishops of Lincoln continued to lavish money on Stow Minster, and at some point towards the end of the twelfth century, perhaps even during Hugh's tenure, they rebuilt the present chancel of the parish church.
Very little has been added to the building since. The central tower was rebuilt in the fifteenth century and strengthened with new arches set within the Saxon arches. Perpendicular windows were inserted into the east and west ends, but little else was done to the structure.
By the early nineteenth century the building had become seriously dilapidated, and in the 1850s and 60s it was restored under the direction of J L Pearson, who removed some of the later accretions including the Perpendicular windows. In the chancel, the first part of his restoration he inserted a rib vault in place of the late medieval timber ceiling.
Sadly the future of this important and venerable building is at considerable risk. The Pearson restoration has come to the end of its natural life and now considerable work needs to be done to the building both internally and externally. The small and devoted congregation have already managed to raise sufficient money to repair the transept roofs, but the great roofs of the nave and chancel now need urgent attention. The full cost of this work is around three million pounds, far more than the tiny parish are capable of raising. So what will happen? Well one very real possibility is that this building of national importance, will cease to be a parish church and that the long tradition of christian witness and worship in this place will be lost. A very sad future for a glorious and inspiring building that simply comes alive when used as it was intended, for the Eucharist.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
My absence is due in the most part to busyness in the parish. One of the things I've been working on is the liturgy for a solemn Eucharist for Candlemas. This took place in the glorious surroundings of Stow Minster last Sunday 31st of January. The following photo, taken by Gordon Plumb, shows the Gloria being sung in the twelfth century chancel at Stow.