Filed under religious history

The Last Days of Solitary

The Last Days of Solitary

This is a really disturbing documentary by the BBC on the US prison system, in which solitary confinement has become widespread as a last resort for dealing with violent uncontrollable prisoners. But for centuries they’ve known it doesn’t work, and in many cases makes prisoners worse. It also costs a hell of a lot of … Continue reading

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 Bishop’s Pardon

A Bishop’s Pardon

The Treasury at Chichester Cathedral is full of fascinating items, but I love this one: A pardon for an early bishop, though it makes no mention of what he had done. This is from the information provided: Papal pardon to Godfrey, 2nd bishop of Chichester (1088, consecrated in January and died in September) found in … 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

Mock Battle in Spain

Mock Battle in Spain

This is from the i paper, 29 December: Revellers dressed in mock military garb take part in the Enfarinats battle in the south eastern Spanish town of Ibi yesterday. During this 200-year-old festival participants, known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d’etat using flour, eggs … Continue reading

Awaiting New Owners

Awaiting New Owners

This is a large church complex in Trowbridge, Wiltshire which was formerly a busy site of Congregationalists. They are a group who I knew were wealthy, and often supported good causes, but they are struggling to find a new use for this large site. I wish I could have seen inside – it looks lovely. … 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