St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Launceston Cornwall


Launceston, St Mary’s Church
c.1911
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Google Street View.

St Mary Magdalene in Launceston is the most impressive and beautiful late medieval church in Cornwall, featuring superb carved detail on the exterior and a wealth of historic memorials and woodwork inside. In 1353 Edward, the Black Prince, was named Duke of Cornwall. Around 1370 Edward built a chapel a short distance from Launceston Castle. All that remains of that 14th-century chapel is the imposing west tower of St Mary Magdalene church, built of Polyphant stone, 20 feet square at the base and rising 70 feet to an embattled top. The tower was originally used as a watchtower, with a single bell to warn of attack, not to call worshippers to service.
Britain Express

The intricately worked granite blocks, which give the church its unique carved exterior, were originally intended for a mansion at Trecarell, Trebullett for Sir Henry Trecarell. The reason for this is said to be due to his infant son drowning in his bath and the grief-stricken Sir Henry switched the stone to ecclesiastical use as he decided to build the church instead. How true this story is, is open to conjecture, but what is most certain is that the present church owes its existence to Sir Henry. (Although widely called Sir Henry, there is no record of him actually being knighted). This was in 1511 and was to be the third church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene on this site which at that time contained the Parochial Chapel of the Blessed Mary Magdalene of the 14th century along with tenements which were attached to the said chapel. These were purchased and removed so that the site was free for the new construction. As previously mentioned the present tower survives from one of the earlier churches, being built by Edward the Black Prince, who became the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337 and whose capital was Launceston. This explains the fact that the body of the church is not directly connected with its tower, which indeed is on a different line. Between them lies what is now the choir vestry, but at one time, there were two cottages between the church and the tower.
Launceston Then

The church of St Mary Magdalene was built in the early 1500s, but inside the Victorians have left almost nothing from the original period. The pulpit is one of the few survivals. It was covered with pitch during the civil war and only restored as to its current condition in 1970. The chancel screen is designed by Edmund H Sedding and carved by Violet Pinwill. It dates from 1911 and depicts eleven saints with Mary Magdalene at the centre.
Reed Design.includes panorama)

Font, St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent


Canterbury. Font St Martin’s Church.
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

This is an example of a Norman tub font, and quite a few have survived in churches to this day. St Mary’s Chadwell has a similar though less impressive example of arcade decoration. One theory (which was either told me by a church guide, or in a printed guide leaflet) is that it consists of stacked “baptismal tubs”; whereas the Kent Churches website claims it is carved from a single block. But most sources including the parish website agree that it consists of several stone blocks (22 is a figure often quoted). Whichever is correct, it is agreed that it is made of Caen stone, carved with intersecting and interlocking patterns.
Geograph

The Church of St Martin is an ancient Church of England parish church in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre. It is recognised as the oldest church building in Britain still in use as a church, and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world, although Roman and Celtic churches had existed for centuries. The church is, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, part of a World Heritage Site. . . . St Martin’s was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (died in or after 601) before Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived from Rome in 597. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. Her pagan husband, King Æthelberht of Kent, facilitated her in continuing to practise her religion by renovating a Romano-British building (ca. AD 580). The Venerable Bede says the building had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up. Although Bede implies that the building in Roman times had been a church, modern scholarship has questioned this and also whether it was a former Roman structure at all, suggesting that it could have been sixth century but built in the Roman way.
Wikipedia.

Historically, this is the most important church in Kent. St Martin’s is the building in which Queen Bertha and St Augustine worshipped together in the closing years of the sixth century, making it the oldest parish church in England that is still in use. Furthermore it is built of large quantities of Roman tile mixed with local flint and ragstone. The exterior shows typical Saxon buttresses and long and short work, but there are no Saxon window openings still in use. However, the west wall inside has been stripped of plaster which allows us to see very early blocked windows. Apart from the great age of the walls there is little of visual interest – with a fourteenth-century tower at the west end and a rather severe atmosphere resulting from the drastic nineteenth-century restoration that saw the insertion of dreadful ‘catalogue’ stained glass. Were it not for the early history of this church the font would be its outstanding feature. It is of Norman date and is carved from a large block of Caen stone. Tall, solid, and eminently decorative it has intersecting circlets in two lower levels, and arcading of Romanesque arches above, topped by a rim of rolling swags. 
Kent Churches

The gem of the Church and one of the gems of England is this world-famous Font, tub-shaped, consisting of a plain stone base, three tiers, and a rim. The base is a recent addition to the font, probably in the middle of the last century, when the font was moved to its present position from the centre of the Nave. The three tiers are made up of some 22 separate stones, and not out of a single block as was usual with early fonts. The two lower tiers are adorned with groups of intertwining circles. The third tier is completely different, namely intersecting arches. The rim is the same design as the two lower tiers with the exception of one stone which has a pattern not unlike dog-tooth work or stars cut in half. The two lower tiers and the rim are said to be Saxon, and the Normans requiring a higher font inserted the arches to raise same, and in so doing broke the rim, and added the one odd stone to make it complete. The lead lining is also of Norman date and still retains the marks of the hinge and staple from the days when the font had a locked cover.
Canterbury Buildings

Statue & Cathedral, Bristol


Bristol. Cathedral & Statue.
C.1910
Publisher: M.J. Ridley, Bournemouth

Google Street View.

The statue of Queen Victoria by Joseph Edgar Boehm stands on College Green, Bristol, England. It is Grade II listed. It was unveiled on 25 July 1888 by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Victoria’s grandson. When the statue was put into place a glass time capsule was incorporated into the plinth. This was uncovered during redevelopment in 2004 and given to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. The round steps of limestone ashlar lead to a square, copper base with fish, putti and inscribed panels, which support the marble statue. The figure of Queen Victoria is holding a sceptre and orb which are now broken. The statue has been moved several times.
Wikipedia.

Virtual tour of cathedral

Bristol Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is the Church of England cathedral in the city of Bristol, England. Founded in 1140 and consecrated in 1148, it was originally St Augustine’s Abbey but after the Dissolution of the Monasteries it became in 1542 the seat of the newly created Bishop of Bristol and the cathedral of the new Diocese of Bristol. It is a Grade I listed building. The eastern end of the church includes fabric from the 12th century, with the Elder Lady Chapel which was added in the early 13th century. Much of the church was rebuilt in the English Decorated Gothic style during the 14th century despite financial problems within the abbey. In the 15th century the transept and central tower were added. The nave was incomplete at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and was demolished. In the 19th century Gothic Revival a new nave was built by George Edmund Street partially using the original plans. The western twin towers, designed by John Loughborough Pearson, were completed in 1888.
Wikipedia.

Bristol Cathedral is one of England’s great medieval churches. It originated as an Augustinian Abbey, founded c. 1140 by prominent local citizen, Robert Fitzharding, who became first Lord Berkeley. The transepts of the church date from this period, but its most vivid remains can be seen in the Chapter House and Abbey Gatehouse. The Chapter House is a stunning Romanesque gem dating from c. 1160, one of the most important buildings of its era in the country, with stone walls decorated with a series of intricate, patterned, carvings.
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In the 1530s the medieval nave was being rebuilt, but it was never finished because Henry VIII dissolved the abbey in 1539. The buildings might have been lost at this point but Henry began to create a series of ‘New Foundation’ Cathedrals, and Bristol was included in 1542 – possibly due to successful lobbying from the citizens of the most important trading city after London. The church, like other cathedrals created at this time, was then rededicated, in this case to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Other surviving features include the baroque organ casing, which houses the organ built by Renatus Harris in 1685. For the next three hundred years the Cathedral functioned without a nave, but in 1868 noted architect, G.E. Street, created a fine replacement in a Gothic Revival design.
Bristol Cathedral

Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire


Abbey Ruins, Whitby
c. 1940

Google Street View.

Founded by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in about 656, the first abbess being St Hilda. Destroyed by the Danes in circa 870 and refounded for the Benedictines by Reinfrid, one of the soldiers of William the Conqueror. Extensive ruins of the church from early Cl2 to Cl4.
Historic England

In about 1078 a monk called Reinfrid founded a new monastic community at Whitby. At a very early stage in its history this community split and the two parts each developed into a fully fledged Benedictine monastery: one on the headland at Whitby and the other at St Mary’s Abbey, York. The Benedictine monastery initially probably had timber buildings or reused the Anglian ruins on the headland. About 1100 a stone church and conventual buildings were built in the Romanesque style, as well as a large parish church close by. In the 13th century the monastery church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. This was a massive undertaking, including major landscaping of the whole site, though there is no documentary evidence for it. The first building campaign is dated on stylistic grounds to about 1225–50. The eastern arm, the crossing and transepts, a central tower, and part of the nave were built before funds seem to have run out. Work appears to have been resumed on the nave in the 14th century, but it was not finished until the 15th century.
. . .
The shell of the abbey church was substantially complete until the 18th century. It was weakened, however, by erosion from wind and rain. The south transept collapsed in 1736, much of the nave in 1763, the central tower in 1830 and the south side of the presbytery in 1839.
English Heritage


Plan of Whitby Abbey, Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952

The early years of the convent were stormy and its history is confused. The community soon incurred the enmity of the founder and was, besides, set upon and pillaged by sea pirates and local robbers. There was probably a split within the convent itself, one part under Stephen retiring to Lastingham and ultimately to St. Mary’s, York, and the other, under Reinfrid, remaining at Whitby or perhaps temporarily at Hackness. Better times came when Serlo de Percy, brother of the founder, joined the community and became Prior; he was followed by William de Percy, a son of the founder, who became Abbot. From the last decade of the eleventh century, the monastery flourished and became third in value of the Benedictine houses of Yorkshire, after those of St. Mary’s, York, and Selby. In the second half of the twelfth century there were between thirty and forty monks at Whitby. Under Abbot Richard of Peter¬ borough (1148-75) Eystein Haroldson, King of Norway, made a raid on Whitby in or about 1153, burnt the town and laid hands on all the spoil that he could carry off. The only episcopal visitation of the monastery on record is that made by Archbishop Multon in 1320, when the monastery was heavily in debt. Nothing was seriously amiss but the monks were forbidden to go out of the monastery with bows and arrows; furthermore the Abbot, Prior or monks were forbidden to keep their own or other people’s hunting dogs in the convent and if any dog got in, it was to be caught and soundly beaten. By the end of the fourteenth century, the numbers of the convent had fallen off but there were still some twenty monks. The later Abbots had the right to the use of the mitre, ring and staff, and the clear value of the house before the Dissolution was estimated at ^437 2s. 9d. a year. The abbey was surrendered to the King’s Commissioners by Henry Davell, the last Abbot, on 14th December 1539
. . .
There is no direct documentary evidence for the dates of the re¬ building of the Abbey church, which must in consequence be assessed on architectural evidence only. It would seem that the general rebuilding was begun at the east end about 1220. The setting-out was faulty, which led to the marked deviation to the north of the axis of the presbytery from that of the nave. There is little or no difference in date apparent throughout the eastern arm of the church but the north transept, which followed in sequence, is perhaps twenty years later, and with this campaign of building went the south transept, the first three bays of the nave and the central tower. The rebuilding of the remainder of the nave was not undertaken till the fourteenth century and the great west window was a work of the fifteenth century. Samuel Buck’s view of the church (1711) shows that the clerestory of the nave was also much altered or rebuilt in the fifteenth century.
Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952


General view from west in 1789, before collapse of Central Tower, “Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book”, 1952

Abbey Gateway, Reading


The Abbey Gateway, Reading
1904-1908
Publisher: Knight Brothers (British Mirror Series)

Google Street View.

The Abbey Gateway was originally the inner gateway of Reading Abbey, which today is a large, mostly ruined abbey in the centre of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. The gateway adjoins Reading Crown Court and Forbury Gardens and is one of only two abbey buildings that have survived intact, the other being the Hospitium of St John the Baptist. It is a grade I listed building, and includes a porters lodge on the ground floor and a large open room above the gate. The gateway marked the division between the area of the abbey open to the public and the section accessible only to monks, with the abbot’s lodging just inside the gateway. The gateway thus became the meeting place between the abbot, who commanded considerable powers within the town, and the people of the town.
Wikipedia.


“Reading Abbey gateway”, by Rev. Thomas James Judkin, 1788-1871 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Abbey Gateway divided the monks’ private living quarters from the more public areas of the abbey. In the 1560s, Queen Elizabeth I turned the abbot’s house, which stood just through the gateway, into a royal palace. After Elizabeth’s death, the palace fell out of use and eventually new houses were built alongside the gateway. In the 18th century one of them was home to the Reading Ladies’ Boarding School, which used the gateway as a classroom. From 1785-86 a particularly talented pupil studied here: the future novelist Jane Austen. In 1861 the Gateway collapsed in a storm, shortly after funds had been raised for vital conservation. Instead the Gate had to be substantially rebuilt. This work was completed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, a Victorian architect known for his Gothic Revival work.
Abbey Quarter

Prittlewell Priory, Southend-on-Sea, England


Prittlewell Priory: Prior’s Chamber
1930s
Publisher/Photo: Trade Studio

Google Street View.

Houses of Cluniac monks: Priory of Prittlewell

Prittlewell Priory was founded by the Cluniac Order in the early 12th century as a cell to the Priory of St Pancras at Lewes, Sussex. It was one of the lesser monasteries housing not more than 18 monks. In 1536 much of the building was destroyed and what remained was much altered during the 18th Century. Alterations were made again in the early 20th Century, when the Refectory was restored and partly rebuilt. A number of original features do survive, including a 12th Century doorway with chevron and dog tooth ornamentation.

After the Dissolution the Priory was a private residence and it was granted to Lord Chancellor Audley, who conveyed it to Robert, son of Lord Rich. It afterwards passed with the manor to various families. The last family to live there, the 19th Century Scrattons, are explored in an exhibition inside the house. In 1917 the building was purchased by Robert Jones, and in May 1922 it opened as Southend’s first museum.
Southend Museums

Southends on sea is a rather built up area today and as far as history goes it is not that old. However not far from Southends town centre lies a park which has been around for 900 years and is the oldest building in Southend which has been continually occupied. Prittlewell Priory has existed since the 12th Century and the land, which now makes up the park, was once all owned and managed by the Clunic monk s who resided there, mainly, in silence. Only parts of the original priory exist today in the form of a very small but informative museum. The Priory grounds are still accessible to all members of the public including the ponds which the Monks used to fish themselves, the refectory, priory chamber, cellar, a 12th century doorway with chevron and dog tooth ornamentation and parts of the wall.
For The Love Of History

The first religious building at Prittlewell, a small wooden oratory, was replaced by a stone church around 1150. This was partly excavated in the 1920s and its outline, 50m-60m in length with an apsidal chancel and side chapels to the south, can still be traced from exposed sections of the foundations which remain on display within the lawns to the north east of the museum. The priory range was enlarged from 1180 onwards with the refectory, chapter house, dorter (monks’ dormitory) and other buildings arranged around the cloister garth at this time. The Priory Museum (a Grade I Listed Building which is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included) retains substantial elements of the priory range – principally the 12th century refectory and 14th century prior’s chambers which, respectively, formed parts of the southern and western arms of the claustral range. The 14th century prior’s chamber, built from local septaria and chalk rubble (mostly refaced with brick in the 19th century) retains an original crown post roof and overlies earlier cellars.
Historic England

York Minster, York


York Minster, West Front
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York

Street View (exterior)

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England (after the monarch as Supreme Governor and the Archbishop of Canterbury), and is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York.
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The Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in 1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; building began in 1220. The north and south transepts were the first new structures; completed in the 1250s, both were built in the Early English Gothic style but had markedly different wall elevations. A substantial central tower was also completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the 15th century. The Chapter House was begun in the 1260s and was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed from the 1280s on the Norman foundations. The outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until 1360. Construction then moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the piers were then reinforced, and a new tower was built from 1420. The western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated in 1472

Wikipedia.


York Minster, South View
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York


York Minster, The Choir
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

Most sung services, including our Evensong service, take place in the Quire. Built between 1361 and the 1420s, much of the original structure was destroyed in a fire started deliberately in 1829.
York Minster


The Choir, York Minster
c.1920
Publisher: Valentine


York Minster, The Crypt
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

The Minster has two Crypts, with the Western one rediscovered and brought back into use following a fire in 1829. It houses the tomb of St William of York, the only saint to be buried at the cathedral, who was canonised in 1227.
York Minster

St. Mary’s Abbey, York


St. Mary’s Abbey, York.
c.1910
Publisher: Sampson, York

Google Street View.

Postcard for St Olave’s Church

The original church on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olaf. After the Norman Conquest the church came into the possession of the Anglo-Breton magnate Alan Rufus who granted the lands to Abbot Stephen and a group of monks from Whitby. The abbey church was refounded in 1088 when the King, William Rufus, visited York in January or February of that year and gave the monks additional lands. The following year he laid the foundation stone of the new Norman church and the site was rededicated to the Virgin Mary. The foundation ceremony was attended by bishop Odo of Bayeux and Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux. The monks moved to York from a site at Lastingham in Ryedale in the 1080s and are recorded there in Domesday. Following a dispute and riot in 1132, a party of reform-minded monks left to establish the Cistercian monastery of Fountains Abbey. In 1137 the abbey was badly damaged by a great fire. The surviving ruins date from a rebuilding programme begun in 1271 and finished by 1294.
Wikipedia.

The abbey estate occupied the entire site of the Museum Gardens and the abbot was one of the most powerful clergymen of his day, on a par with the Archbishop of York. In medieval York, the abbey sat opposite and mirrored the Minster: two great buildings dedicated to worship. The monks would spend their days working in abbey administration, copying books, trading with merchants, providing food and supplies for the monastery, managing the abbey’s estates and helping the poor.

Visitors can see the remains of the walls of the nave and crossing of the abbey church, where the monks prayed and sang, and the cloister, where the monks washed their clothes, contemplated and were allowed to speak. . . . King Henry VIII banned all monasteries in England in 1530s. The monks at St Mary’s were pensioned off in 1540 and the abbey buildings were converted into a palace for the King when he visited York. Gradually they fell into ruins and were used as agricultural buildings before being excavated by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in the 1820s.
York Museums Trust

Dunkeld Cathedral, Dunkeld, Scotland


Dunkeld Cathedral Tower
1900s
Publisher: G.W. Wilson & Co. (1852-1908)

Google Street View (approximate).

Canmore entry (has images including a floorplan)

The history of Dunkeld can be traced to the ninth century when it emerged as an important religious centre for the early Celtic Church. No building of this period survives, the present Cathedral dates from 1318. Partly destroyed during the Reformation (1560), the choir is roofed and now serves as the parish church for regular Sunday worship. The rest of the cathedral is ruinous, but is preserved as an Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland
Dunkeld Cathedral

In 849, relics of St Columba were removed from Iona to protect them from Viking raids. They were brought to Dunkeld by King Kenneth MacAlpin, who appointed a bishop at Dunkeld. Columba became the patron saint of Dunkeld and its monastery. The see was revived in the early 1100s, when Cormac became Bishop of Dunkeld. The cathedral developed over about 250 years, and the earliest surviving part is the choir of the late 1200s. It later became a parish church. The nave was begun in 1406, and lost its roof shortly after the Protestant Reformation of 1560. There are paintings dating from the 1500s on the vault of the bell tower’s ground floor, which once served as an ecclesiastical court. There are also fine memorials in the choir (not in our care), including the effigy of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan – notorious as “The Wolf of Badenoch”.
Historic Environment Scotland

Historian Sir Richard Burton describing Dunkeld as the site for a battle wrote: ‘it is difficult to imagine a position by the nature of the ground more dangerous for a Lowland force, for it is deep sunk among hills commanding it and cutting off a retreat while a rapid river forms the diameter of the semi-circle. But the next day – despite the fact that it was a. Sunday – the garrison set about fortifying Dunkeld Cathedral tower and the Duke of Atholl’s new mansion Dunkeld House.
Dunkeld Cathedral: Battle of Dunkeld

The much-restored cathedral choir, still in use as the parish church, is unaisled and dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. The aisled nave was erected from the early 15th century. The western tower, south porch and chapter house (which houses the cathedral museum) were added between 1450 and 1475. The cathedral was stripped of its rich furnishings after the mid-16th century Reformation and its iconoclasm. The nave and porch have been roofless since the early 17th century. They and the tower in the 21st century are in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Below the ceiling vault of the tower ground floor are remnants of pre-Reformation murals showing biblical scenes (c. 1490), one of very few such survivals in Scotland. The clearest to survive is a representation of the Judgement of Solomon. This reflects the medieval use of this space as the Bishop’s Court.
Wikipedia.


Dunkeld Cathedral from the North-West
1900s
Publisher: G.W. Wilson & Co. (1852-1908)

Netley Abbey, Netley


Southampton – Netley Abbey
Publisher: J. Baker. The Camp Stores, Hazeley Down, Winchester

Google Street View.

Netley Abbey is a ruined late medieval monastery in the village of Netley near Southampton in Hampshire, England. The abbey was founded in 1239 as a house for monks of the austere Cistercian order. Despite royal patronage, Netley was never rich, produced no influential scholars nor churchmen, and its nearly 300-year history was quiet. The monks were best known to their neighbours for the generous hospitality they offered to travellers on land and sea. In 1536, Netley Abbey was seized by Henry VIII of England during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the buildings granted to William Paulet, a wealthy Tudor politician, who converted them into a mansion. The abbey was used as a country house until the beginning of the eighteenth century, after which it was abandoned and partially demolished for building materials.
Wikipedia

Sir William Paulet’s mansion was occupied until 1704, when the owner sold it for building materials. The abbey was only saved when a demolition worker was killed, causing work to cease. When this house was abandoned, however, and the neglected site became overgrown with trees and ivy, it came to be celebrated as a romantic ruin. As the ‘Romantic Movement’ grew in strength, many authors and artists visited the abbey to find inspiration. Set among the wild, wooded slopes above Southampton Water, overgrown Netley appeared to be the perfect medieval ruin. John Constable came to paint here, and writers such as Thomas Gray enthused about the abbey.
English Heritage