The Parish Church of St Laurence, Ludlow

Ludlow’s church can be seen from miles around due to its large tower. The original church was started in 1199 and added to in the fourteenth century with a decorated hexagonal porch. The chancel and the nave were built in the perpendicular style in the early 15th century.  It was one of only 18 churches given a five-star rating in England’s Thousand Greatest Churches by Simon Jenkins (1999) and is described as the “Cathedral of the Marches

St Laurence Church

An important body in the town was the Palmers’ Guild which began around 1250 as a mutual benefit society, but later concerns were with provision for the after-life. By using the name Palmer, the Guild associated itself with pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a window in the Guild’s own chapel of St John the Evangelist depicts a legend that attributes the foundations of the Guild to Edward the Confessor. The town’s economy and medieval prosperity came from  wool.

I have been promising to show more images of the interior so let’s have a look around and you will see why I find this building so beautiful and how it connects the present town of Ludlow to its historical political importance (Wars of the Roses) and economical past.

Continue reading The Parish Church of St Laurence, Ludlow

A Mermaid in a Church?

That’s right. You didn’t misread the title. There is a little church in Zennor, west-Cornwall that is home to a mermaid.

Why a mermaid?

Before the Christian era, mermaids were one of the symbols for Aphrodite, Goddess of the sea and of love. In one hand she held a quince (love apple) and in the other a comb. Later the quince was changed to a mirror, symbol of vanity and heartlessness.

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In the Middle Ages, when Cornish mystery plays were performed, the mermaid was used as a symbol to explain the two natures of Christ. She was both human and a fish. He was both a man and god.

Mermaid frescoes are found in other Cornish churches – Breage, Poughill and Altarnun – but Zennor is the only one with a carving.

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The mermaid reminds us that St Senara also came by sea and founded a church at Zennor more than 1400 years ago.

The Legend of the Chair

The only remaining Medieval bench ends carved over 500 years ago are linked to the chorister Matthew Trewhella who, it is said, was lured into the sea at Pendour Cove by a mermaid who came into the church to hear his beautiful singing.

source: Zennor Church

Dawn of Lingering Look at Architecture has churches as the topic for the month of June so I am linking this post to her challenge.

And I shall link it to Paula’s Thursday Special too as she is interested in things from the past this week.

Cathedral of the Weald

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If you read about my recent visit to the delightful Weald town of Cranbrook you will have seen my reference to St Dunstan’s church which is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Weald’. Wealth from the cloth industry enabled successive enlargements of the medieval church in the 15th and 16th century.

This delightful church is well worth a more detailed look around, so let’s go inside.

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Around the church are information panels providing details about particular interesting objects within.

The Font

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This font is Victorian from 1852, and example of early Victorian Gothic and made of Caen stone. The white marble carved figure behind commemorates Thomas Webster, an artist, and the Alexander Window above was installed by Col Alexander in memory of his wife and three children.

 The Green Man

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Although of pagan origin it is not unusual to find carvings of the Green Man inside a Christian church, even Canterbury Cathedral has 80 of them. When this church was built Cranbrook was surrounded by dense forest – the Weald. Four circular oak shields depicting these fierce-looking woodland spirits can be found here.

The church contains some splendid stained-glass windows

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The St Thomas Chapel

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This beautiful serene corner of the church is named after St Thoma a Beckett, who by the 15th century had replaced St Dunstan as England’s most popular saint. I loved the light flooding through the clear leaded windows.

The South Porch

This porch was built around 1390. The wooden door added in 1569 at a cost of 17 shillings and 7 pence (£2k today). On the ceiling is a stone-carved Green Man.

And a final look at the church surrounded by the old graveyard with interesting headstones.

If your interest is windows then Dawn from ‘The Day After’  invites participants to post pictures of any windows that  they find curious, inviting, photogenic, or in some way tell a story.

X for XV century Misericords

frizztext hosts a weekly A – Z Challenge

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Event Type: General Blogging

Start Date: Tuesdays, recurring weekly

Description: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet.

If you would like to join in then please click here

Woman with Coif
S4 – representing womanhood, possibly a mother and daughters

We are quite lucky in Ludlow to have a very impressive Parish Church – St Laurence, which is so big that it can be seen from miles around and is known as ‘The Cathedral of the Marches’. Now none of this has to do with the letter X, but inside the church you can find twenty eight misericords dating from the XV century.

Seated Man with Scroll
S13 – this could be a pupil or schoolmaster at the school run by the Palmers’ Guild in Ludlow.

Now I don’t propose to show you all 28, but here are a few of my favourites.

Owl with eagles
S5 – the owl in medieval times was a dark symbol. Here it is being mobbed by two birds looking inwards, possibly eagles.

St Laurence’s Church has twenty eight misericords in the choir stalls which are of a quality usually associated with great cathedrals such as Worcester or Gloucester.

Monster with female face
N2 – a Harpy (young woman’s head with the body and wings of a bat) with her supporters (bats) creatures of darkness and symbols of evil.

Carved on the underside of the hinged choir seats each misericord is fashioned from a piece of timber some 26 inches (660 mm) long, 12 inches (300 mm) deep and 6 inches (150 mm) thick.

falcon and scales
N13 – Falcon and Fetterlocks, the personal badge of Richard Duke of York (1411 – 1460)

The misericords have a wide variety of themes and with Ludlow then being a royal stronghold there is a royal influence shown in a number of misericords. Wikipedia

Prince of Wales Feathers
N8 – since the mid-16th century the three ostrich feathers have been the personal badge of the Prince of Wales.
S6 – Swan flanked by leaves, the badge of the Bohun family though without the crown collar.

The header misericord is N4 – a mermaid holding a mirror in her right hand, a comb missing from her left. Two dolphins flank her.

U for Ursuline Monastery

frizztext hosts a weekly A – Z Challenge

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Event Type: General Blogging

Start Date: Tuesdays, recurring weekly

Description: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet.

If you would like to join in then please click here

ursuline-monastery-1

The Ursuline Monastery in Solvenia’s young capital, Ljubljana and the Holy Trinity Parish Church  was commissioned by Jakob Schell von Schellenburg, a wealthy local merchant and financier, and his wife Ana Katarina. During the construction of the Trg republike square, the Monastery underwent a thorough reconstruction and its garden was completely destroyed. 

Its undulating façade enhanced by semi-columns and a characteristic gable inspired by the famous Roman architect Francesco Borromini make it one of Ljubljana’s most beautiful and extraordinary example of Baroque architecture.

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In front is the Holy Trinity Column erected in 1693 as a thanks offering for the city having been spared from the plague.

U---Ursuline-Monastery-rough-pastelsand given the number of windows in this beautiful building I am linking this to Dawn’s Lingering Windows Challenge.