April 2009 Volume 4, Issue 3
The English Church: An Architectural Treasure Trove by guest, Jocelyn Kelley
|I've been following an online class from author Jocelyn Kelley about visiting England. With her kind permission, here are highlights of the class about English Churches. It's a bit long, but fascinating, and well worth the read. I have added some photos for you to enjoy along with the article.
by Jocelyn Kelly
If you want to see all of English architectural history in one place, visit
an English church. This is a favorite pastime for tourists and English citizens
alike. You'll see not only architectural history, but the political/religious
history of England and Wales. In a typical church, you can have architectural
elements from the 12th century until present-day, especially if the Victorians
missed the church in their zeal to "update" and "renovate" everything.
(My husband and I) have visited churches and holy sites from Holy Island in the north to St.
David's in far western Wales. We've learned to follow the "rules" that aren't
posted in most places but which we've learned from doing as the locals
Most country churches are open during the day except when there are
services. Of course, you are welcome to come in for regular church services,
but obviously you can't wander about and look at the structure of the church
during a service. In larger towns, some churches have begun to put out boards
that say: "Church open." when the church is unlocked. Others will have a note
by the door where the key to the church can be found if you want to go inside
and see it. Usually it's only a few doors away.
Let's start with the
basic parish church:
After coming through the lychgate (a free-standing gate
usually covered and the place where the pallbearers could rest before carrying
the coffin the rest of the way to the church), you will be in the churchyard. [See photo, below.}
Some country churches have famous people buried in their churchyards, and
usually there will be something in the church to let you know about that.
[right: A lychgate with cemetery beyond.]
Once inside the building, look up at the eaves. Even simple country churches can have gargoyles
spitting out water.
The tower is where the bells are. Some churches
have spires on top of their towers. Others have what are called "witch-hats"
because the top of the tower looks like what the Wicked Witch of the West would
wear. In Norfolk and Suffolk, there are churches with round towers. There are
plenty of questions by historians as to why these towers are round - and you can
find articles about that hanging on the walls in many of these churches. Basic answer: No one is really sure.
You will enter a
church via the porch - a small covered attachment where there often are bulletin
boards listing community events and outreach. This was where marriages took
place for many years, because the couple couldn't go into the church together
until they were married in the eyes of the church. Don't hurry through the
porch to the main door. Often there are plaques on the walls that list the
current and previous parsons of the church back to the establishment of the
church. Also there may be interesting memorial stones in the floor of the
porch..even though the words probably are worn from the many feet who have
walked across them. In addition, you can see what outreach programs the church
does...insight into the community. In especially small communities, there may
be a listing of which church has a service on which Sunday, because several
parishes share the same parson.
[Note by Linore: This practice, of having more than one parish by a clergyman--called "pluralism--"began in earlier times because a churchman often needed more than one "living" to earn enough for a comfortable subsistence! Right, and left, above: Two church porches, one elaborate and one simpler. Here in the States we would probably call the porch the "nave."]
When you open the door into the church,
make sure you close it behind you. If you don't, animals and birds can get into
the church...and you'll find sheep in country churchyards. A cheap and easy way
to keep down the grass and weeds. If there are other people in the church,
especially if they are sitting in the pews, be considerate. If they are there
cleaning up, talk to them. The best guides are the parishioners themselves -
and they love talking to us as much as we do, them.
Unless posted not to, you are free to take
photos (again be considerate of anyone in prayer), and you may use a
flash. Some of the bigger churches/cathedrals will charge you for a photo
license (often around £3) and you will be given a sticker to wear. It's a
simple way to raise money for continued upkeep.
Some things to look at in
a country church:
1) Baptismal font - many of them are works of art which
reflect the local history or the village itself [Note: A quick look on Google images tells me that these fonts range from ancient to modern; simple and austere to exotic. Left: The font from Gibbons@St.James's Piccadilly, where William Blake was baptized!]
2) Stained glass windows -
don't just look at the design - look at the writing in the memorial section
which often lists who donated the window and why. Also you can find unique
items. There is a small church outside of Bodmin, Cornwall, in a town called
Temple (I'm not sure where the town is, but we did find the church). It was
built on Knights Templar land, and one window shows a Knight Templar. The
design of the other windows have a connection to the Templars, too.
Memorial plaques on the walls
4) Memorial stones in the floors - you can see
where brasses were ripped out during the Reformation. Some of the brasses were
left intact (although they are no longer on the floor but on display somewhere in
the church) if they weren't secular themes. These are of particular interest to
me because I have a great-great-great (back in the 1500's) with a memorial
stone in Norwich Cathedral.
5) Altars and altar screens. If you're in the
north of England, especially, but in the midlands, too, you should look to find
a small mouse carved into an altar or the screen. It means it was carved by
Robert Thompson, who was known as the "mouseman". When he began his
woodcarving, he was as poor as a...okay, you get it, a
churchmouse, so he began to put his signature mouse on everything he carved.
Sometimes in bas relief and sometimes flat. Altars and altar screens are wonderful pieces of
art, even if Mr. Thompson didn't make them. Some are carved, some are painted,
and some are very grand.
6) Painted murals on the walls. When people
couldn't read and the Bible wasn't in English, murals on the walls told the
story of the Gospels. Some of the paintings are pretty grim as people are cast
down into Hell, but they are always interesting and reflect the style of
painting for the time when they were created. In St. Peter and Paul's Church in
Pickering, Yorkshire, the paintings were rediscovered in the middle of the 19th
century, but the pastor had them whitewashed over because he thought they were
inappropriate for the eyes of good churchgoing folks. They were cleaned again
and are lovely. Churches in the middle ages were brightly painted with
surprisingly modern designs on the columns. You can see some remnants of that
in St. Alban's Cathedral.
7) Pulpits. Some are simple, some are amazing.
The steps to the pulpit in the small church at Llananthony Abbey in Wales are
cut into the outer wall of the church, so the parson climbs up a small stairwell
to get to the pulpit.
8) Pews. Some pews are simple, some are ornately
carved. Many will have kneeling pillows needlepointed by the parishioners that
show important aspects of the church and the community. If the pews are
ornately carved (or the whole church is, like the parish church in Launceston,
Cornwall), look at the back of the last set of pews. What look like vines with
roses/other flowers may instead be self-portraits of the wood-carvers. Unable
to sign their names, they carved themselves (or each other) into the pattern.
If you go into Trinity Church in Coventry (right in front of the cathedral), ask
one of the docents to point them out to you.
You'll notice in the big, old cathedrals,
there are no pews. That was because people stood during services.
leads us to looking in the choir. Some older churches that were once connected
to an abbey will have misericords under the choir seats. These are carvings -
often mythological characters or everyday people - set beneath a small shelf on
the underside of the choir seat. During the middle ages, these seats were
pushed up during service, and the elderly monks/sisters needed something to lean
against. The small shelves were introduced to help them. Misericord derives
from the Latin word for "mercy." The carvings came later to decorate them.
Some churches still have them in place, so feel free to put your fingers under
the choir seat and see if it lifts up.
10) Chapels. Larger churches may
have chapels. Often these are set off to one side of the altar. They often are
dedicated to military units from the area. You can see original flags (some
with very few threads) flying there.
11) Effigies. Even small country
churches may have effigies of important locals. Churches like St. Mary's
Collegiate in Warwick have amazing effigies. The Beauchamp chapel has effigies
of some of the most important people of Tudor England. Look at the costumes as
well as what is also carved with the person. A book? A dog? A child? Also
where the effigy is placed speaks to its importance. If it is looking up at a
holy figure in a nearby window, it usually is intended to suggest a connection
or an especial godliness about the person.[Right: Knight effigies in an English Church]
12) Crypt. If you want to go back
in time, go into the church's crypt. The one at Hexham Church (once part of the
Abbey) in Northumberland dates back to the 7th century. My favorite is the
crypt at St. Mary's (a very, very common church name in England) Lastingham,
Yorkshire. It is accessible right from the center of the church. It is said
that St. Cedd, one of the early missionaries to England is buried beneath the
altar table. There are also carved stones from Viking, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman
times on display there. [pic:Ancient Crypt of Glouscester Cathedral]
13) Bells and clocks. You can see the ropes where
the bells are rung inside, and you can see the clock(s) on the face(s) of the
towers outside. Also many churches have sundials on one side or in the
churchyard.[Right: Bells on a church in Wales]
14) Organ. Some are small and modern. Others are magnificent
and set in a balcony over the church. Please don't touch them. Just admire
15) Booklets and postcards are often on sale on a table near the door.
The prices are usually well-marked. The booklets give you the history of the
church and point out items for which the parishioners are especially proud. The
poor box is usually in the wall next to the table. There may be more than one
slot. If so, they are usually marked for publications or donations. Even if
you don't take the booklet with you, but used it during your visit to guide you
around, pay for it. Also leave a donation to the church of no less than a
pound. It helps with the upkeep of the church and its grounds. When I visited
a church named (what else?) St. Mary's in Watford, Hertfordshire, there was no
box in sight for the donations. I opened a drawer on the table and saw someone
else had left coins there, so I did the same.
16) Guest book. If the church
has a Guest book, sign it before you leave. We've gotten holiday cards from
churches we've visited, which is always a treat.
17) Everything else. Each
church is unique. Some have amazing sculptures. Some have used book and toy
sales going on. If you buy something in those churches, leave the money in the
Cathedrals will have most of the above as well as a
cathedra, which is the official chair of the bishop. You'll see it often near
the choir. In a cathedral, the exterior of the building is as important as the
interior when it comes to architecture. Lincoln Cathedral's front is covered
with statues telling Biblical stories. Even the entry doorways show figures
floating up the arches. And don't forget the gargoyles!
cathedrals, look up at the ceilings and admire the bosses. These are the small
sculptures where the arches of the roof come together. Norwich Cathedral in
Norfolk is famous for its hundreds of bosses that fill the ceiling and the
cloister connected to it. In Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, look for the
imp - a small demon carved at the far end of the church.
[Note from Linore: Google "Cathedral Bosses, UK" and see what comes up! These are really beautiful.]
find a Green man (and/or woman) among the carvings. This shows the connection
to England's pagan past, but the cathedrals (and the churches) display them
proudly as fine works of art.
If the church has a tower, consider climbing it. Yes, it's
hundreds of uneven curving steps to the top, but the view is worth the
breathlessness and the sore muscles the next day (what you don't strain going
up, you'll strain coming down!). Usually there is a small extra charge. At
Coventry Cathedral (in the original part), you can look down on the bells
through plexiglass in the floor - and try not to jump off the roof when they
ring! York Cathedral offers a view across the rooftops and to the old medieval
walls. My favorite may be St. Mary's Collegiate in Warwick, because you look
over the town and into the castle.
Visiting other holy sites such as holy
wells is fun, too. Each is as unique as the time it was built and how long it
was visited. St. Cybi's (pronounced Cubby) on the Lleyn Peninsula in Wales has a pool where people used to down into it and a room for changing, both of which were in use as late as the 19th
century. St. Non's (the mother of St
David, the patron saint of Wales) holy well is a small pool out in the open air
with just a statue of the Virgin Mary next to it. The ruins of a chapel are
nearby. Stop by the holy well and its spring.
going to post pictures of some of the elements I've mentioned here on my blog
Jocelyn Kelley is the author of the Nethercott Tales: Sea Wraith, June 2009, Dreamseeker, July, 2009, and Gentleman's Master, October 2009 from ImaJinn Books.
Jane Quote of the Month (And Contest!)
|"I am by no means convinced that we ought not all to be Evangelicals, & am at least persuaded that they who are so from Reason & Feeling, must be happiest & safest."
FIRST person who emails me with the correct answer from the choices below will win an autographed free copy of the original version of Before the Season Ends. (Other entrants with the correct answer will be entered into a second drawing for a copy.)
The above quotation is from:
a) Mansfield Park
c) A personal letter written by Jane
Hit "reply" to send your answer or email me at
Linore [at] LinoreRoseBurkard.com. Please put "Contest" in your email subject line, and the letter of your answer (a, b, c, or d).
And the winner is...(March's Contest)
, who can expect a free copy of Before the Season Ends
! Please send me your mailing info, Liz.
Liz opened her newsletter less than an hour after it was distributed, and got her correct answer to me first. Here's the quote and the answer:
"Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands."
The correct answer:
Anne Elliot, from the book Persuasion.
Some of you were so smart as to give me the context of the conversation (between Anne and Captain Harville). For this reason, I'm listing all the Honorable Mentions--those who answered late but correctly. (See above, right-hand column) From this group, a second winner was chosen for a free copy of my book, which was: Stephanie J. Van Gorden.
Congratulations Liz and Stephanie! Thanks to everyone who participated. Be sure and try again this month!
The House in Grosvenor Square--Now Available!
Ariana and Mr. Mornay, following a
rocky courtship, are finally betrothed and have set a wedding date, but strange things begin to happen in the house in Grosvenor Square, and when two brothers
with a grudge decide to abduct the future bride to prevent the wedding altogether, what
can Mr. Mornay do to stop them; And--if they succeed--will he ever get her back?
Order a copy Here!
1. Here's a wonderful link that my good friend author Rita Gerlach reminded me of: Regency House Party Sort of like a "Regency 101," with brief explanations, and a good range of subjects.
2. The World of Inkslinger's Regency Page. (Don't miss Parson Woodforde's daily diary entry--from 1796. I keep this shortcut on my desktop to read it every day!]
SEND ME A REGENCY LINK to put here in a future issue. Share the fun! Email me at:
Linore [at] LinoreRoseBurkard.com
Other Bookish Links & Giveaways
offers many free classic reads (downloads): You don't have to join, either. Use the search box to find what you want. Or cut and paste the following: http://www.feedbooks.com/
They also offer a free mobipocket reader for mobi formatted books.
2. http://www.manybooks.net Also offers lots of free classics.
3. ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! Christian Book Distributors is holding a Giveaway of my first book, Before the Season Ends. Have you been thinking about getting a copy but still haven't? Maybe you can win one.
4. Read the April Issue of The Jane Austen Centre Newsletter Here. There are two quizzes this month; (I love the quizzes!) Tip: Finish my newsletter first before clicking through to this one. : ) Related to the above, watch a short video presentation about the JA Centre, which is located in Bath, England.
5. Enjoy a five+ minute video of the Victorian set Jane Eyre.Peaceful, rich in atmosphere, and sure to send you running to view the movie again. : ) [thank you, Rita Gerlach for sending me the link]
Free Download of the Month
|I have a newly revised and illustrated pdf for you.
Hats, Caps, Bonnets, Bandeaux
Until next month,
I wish you excellent reading and real-life happy endings!
Linore Rose Burkard
PO Box 674
Waynesville, OH 45068
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| I was so hoping The House in Grosvenor Square would come today! :-( Can't wait to read it! Linore,
you're at the top of my favorite authors list: You, Mary Connealy, Julie
Lessman, and Ruth Axtell Morren. I know I've only read one novel by you and one
short story, but I just loved them so much. You write what I love!|
Melanie Dickerson, Author
|"Linore's skillful writing makes [the heroine, Ariana Forsythe] who is so forgiving she could seem unreal, come across in a believable way. I
look forward to reading Linore Rose Burkard's next novel in the series!"
Sharon Lavy, WriterWhat's It All About?
"This spectacular sequel transports the reader to days gone by. I've
been looking forward to devouring this novel because I thoroughly
enjoyed its predecessor. I am so glad that Linore Rose Burkard was born
in this time with this talent: to take you back to this seemingly
lovelier (yet ever more complex) era. I find myself so emotionally
involved in her books that my breath quickens as the pages turn and I
am suddenly up way past my bedtime reading. What an outstanding series!
I cannot wait for more!!!!!"
, Book Reviewer on Amazon
The House in Grosvenor Square
Ariana and Mr. Mornay,
following a rocky courtship, are finally betrothed and have set a
wedding date, but strange things begin to happen in the house in
Grosvenor Square, and when two brothers with a grudge decide to abduct
the future bride to prevent the wedding altogether, what can Mr. Mornay
do to stop them; And--if they succeed--will he ever get her back?
Got a Reading Group? See the Discussion Questions for The House in Grosvenor Square on this page.
BarnesandNoble.com low-price Link
|READERS WRITE: |
"A very good debut novel, the book has found a place on my keeper bookshelf."
"Hey Linore! Been to a Family Christian Store lately? I was in there yesterday and noticed that your book was on the top shelf with the 'Top Sellers in Fiction.' Pretty cool, huh? "
Tahnee Andrews, Author
I am loving the book, and then I watched the
VIDEO! Deep Sighs here. It was brilliant! I have seen so many videos
and nothing has been like this one. Ariana's voice brought the whole
book to life. I
have never read a full Regency book and I didn't think I would really
like it, I found out I LOVE IT. I am going back to my Before The
Season Ends daze now but seriously, this is the best book I have read
in a long time.
Val Pearson, Book Reviewer
Lena Nelson Dooley, AuthorWhat's It All About?
Before the Season Ends
Romantic woes at home send lovely Miss Ariana Forsythe to fashionable Mayfair in London to stay with her wealthy aunt for the Season. What happens when this determined young woman of faith crosses paths with the Paragon, London's darling rogue--and scandal ensues? Ariana finds herself obliged to live a lie--but is it a lie? Will she end up betrothed to the wrong man, or could it be that all the mixed-up events are somehow leading her right to where her heart is? Her faith is turned upside down and inside out in this sparkling regency romp and only God knows how it can turn out right --before the season ends!
Purchase Links for Before the Season Ends or, The House in Grosvenor Square
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Linore Rose Burkard writes Inspirational
Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to
experience life and love during the Regency in England (circa 1800 - 1830).
"Experience a romantic age, where
timeless lessons still apply to modern life, and where happy endings are possible for everyone!"
for last month's contest
|In the order I received them...
Natalie S. Granado
Carol M. Rehme
Amy L N
Stephanie J. Van Gorden
Special Mention to:
April Dean and
Charlotte Fletcher for sendiing in correct answers two months in a row.
Well done, Everyone! Thank you for participating.
BOOK THREE IS IN THE WORKS!
Harvest House has given me a contract for a third book in the Regency Series: The Country House Courtship is now underway, in which the characters you've come to love are still at large, and Beatrice, now all of seventeen, gets her day.
LARGE PRINT EDITION
BTSE will soon be in Large-Print! A new, hardcover, large print edition of BTSE will be ready for purchase in June, 2009, on Amazon, from Thorndike Press.
CROSSINGS BOOKCLUB Is offering BTSE in hardcover to its members! Have you thought about joining? Do so now and you may be able to get the BTSE with your special introductory offer. I was so excited to learn that they'd chosen to pick up the book!
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