Project Canterbury

Advice Ecclesiological: Illustrations of Church Interiors before and after Alterations Effected by the Warham Guild.

London: The Warham Guild, 1960.

Note on Diocesan Advisory Committees for the Protection of Churches

BEFORE any addition can be made to the fittings or ornaments of a church, and before important repairs are done, the law of the Church requires that a faculty shall be obtained from the Chancellor, who is the judge appointed by the Bishop to preside over the court of the diocese, which is called the Consistory Court. By far the greatest amount of the art treasure of the nation is architectural, and, together with much of the other national treasure, is in the hands of the Church. In 1913 the Church narrowly escaped losing this treasure through the intervention of Parliament, because of the harm that had been done to the fabric of buildings and by the destruction of their features, clumsy restoration, and bad ornaments during our age of confusion. This peril was averted by the formation of a Central Council for the Protection of Churches, with Advisory Committees in each diocese. These Advisory Committees, worked by the self-sacrificing labours of expert advisers, have gone far already to restore confidence in the Church as a custodian of ancient monuments and treasures. Parsons, church councillors, and donors should apply to the Diocesan Advisory Committee before pledging themselves to the schemes which otherwise may be rejected by the Chancellor; for the Registry refers to the Advisory Committee before it applies to the Court for the necessary faculty.

Saint James, Bonsall. Comparison of these two pictures will show how a sense of dignified spaciousness has been gained by very simple means. The inconvenient reredos, which cut into the window, has been removed, and the whole of the east wall has been whitened. The altar has been lengthened and supplied with a new frontal and ornaments of gilded wood. It now stands directly on the floor. The appearance could be further enhanced by removing the flower vases from the altar itself and placing them on the stools, as at S. Mary, Windermere, illustrated on page 14.

Saint Margaret, Buxted. This example of a wide chancel needed quite different treatment from that illustrated on the previous page. The altar had been spoiled by poor restoration in the last century, and has been lengthened. The stonework has not been altered, but a curtain has been hung to conform with the string course below the east window. The altar cross focuses attention on the altar in a way in which the duplicated crosses on frontal and reredos completedly failed to do before.

Saint George, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Here space has been made for a new and more dignified font by removing pews from the last bay of the nave. The new font has been provided with a cover in accordance with the Constitutions of 1237. The walls and roof have been redecorated, and the stencilled dado removed.

Saint Andrew, Streatham. This memorial chapel in an Edwardian red brick church has been formed by covering the speaking pipes of the organ with a screen which does not shield the sound. In accordance with pre-Reformation practice there is no altar cross; indeed, a cross would be superfluous below the figure of the Ascended Christ. Part of the wall has been whitened.

Saint Jude, South Shields. This is another example of a chapel formed at the end of an aisle. It has been greatly improved by providing richly decorated altar furnishings in the traditional style. The carved wood statue of Our Lady and the Holy Child is set on a screen which is bowed forward, in order that the sound from the organ may not be affected. The decoration of the roof adds to the richness of the whole.

Saint Mary, Windermere. The treatment here is similar to that illustrated on page 7. As will be seen in the illustration on the front cover, the chancel has been whitened, and gilded cresting has been placed at the head of a full curtain to provide a background for the altar, which has been lengthened. New altar ornaments and rich frontals now give the altar prominence which was lacking before. Note should be made of the arrangement of the flowers on either side of the altar, and of the chancel step.

Project Canterbury