Filed under religious art

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

What happened to objects when Henry VIII closed the monasteries? This is an area of history that is often ignored or the subject of guesswork, especially in England where there was so much destruction of religious artefacts at the long drawn-out Reformation. But here’s some thoughts. Every church that conducted masses had to have a … Continue reading

Monstrance & Clocks

Monstrance & Clocks

Here’s a bit of seriously obscure research that took me a while to nail down. I found a few monstrance clocks but wanted to know what they were and meant. Here’s one from the collection of the Guild of Clockmakers, now in the Science Museum: The original. monstrance was an ornate container for display and … Continue reading

A True Romance

A True Romance

Here’s some rather wonderful images from Winchester Cathedral. Many old churches have lovely carved tombs to dead crusaders, but this one, remembering the Earl of Arundel and his second wife Eleanor, from about 1307 is rather special. Despite their wealth they left instructions to be buried together without pomp. She has her legs crossed, like … Continue reading

Not What it Seems

Not What it Seems

Here’s a very odd image from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum: It shows the brothers of the fraternity of the Madonna f Humility gathered round conducting the offices of the dead for their patron. Here’s the full image:

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

After my disappointment at Liverpool Anglican cathedral, I thought I’d balance things out with an account of Durham Cathedral, a place I’ve never been, but the wonderful music journalist Stuart Maconie has. This is from his book ‘Pies and Prejudice’ in which he cites Pevsner with: Durham is one of the great experiences of Europe … Continue reading

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Most cities have a cathedral, you can expect it to be biggish, ancient and full of dead worthies and their memorials. But Liverpool was a small town until the 18th century when  it became a major port, and since then there have been a lot of Irish immigrants, so they have a catholic cathedral, so … Continue reading

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

After my post on the glass exhibition, here’s some more images of the cathedral which is absolutely huge. I can well imagine how this place inspired thoughts of higher things as well as reminders of those who have gone to a hopefully better place. Cadaver tombs were sometimes combined with images of a bishop in … Continue reading

Between Gargoyles and Grotesques

Between Gargoyles and Grotesques

A lot of people get these two terms mixed up. Gargoyles are the strange creatures that loom out of the sides of old churches to channel water away from the building; their mouths/throats are lead lined to protect them from erosion. Grotesques are strange faces. The term originates from the faces and masks found when … Continue reading

St Barbara

St Barbara

I am fascinated by the cult of the saints, especially as they are so poorly misunderstood in these determinedly anti-papist Isles. Europe still has churches and shrines to saints, and they know their histories, even in protestant regions, but here they were pretty thoroughly wiped off the face of the earth. St Barbara, my namesake, … Continue reading

Multiple Time Zones

In a world where most of us don’t know what day it is half the time, it’s impressive that in the Middle Ages, Europe operated in several time zones simultaneously. Following on from the book Keeping Time, which dealt with early notions of time keeping, here’s something from Stripping of the Altars, which describes a … Continue reading