Yesterday morning several strong men of this congregation, and our friendly farmers Carl and Pete (pictured- they help us whenever we need a trailer) collected a reredos to be situated in the Sacred Heart chapel on the side of our church. Don’t forget that you can click on the images for better detail.
The reredos was originally housed in an Anglican parish in Haselmere, Surrey but was no longer wanted due to modern renovation taking place there. This news reached the attention of friends in the Portsmouth Ordinariate, who share our ecclesial tastes and passion for preserving heritage, and they suggested that Pembury might be a good home. So we are grateful both to the donating parish and to those who thought of us when it became available!
The reredos, which is in the ‘arts and crafts’ style, has an inscription carved on its exterior showing that it was commissioned in memory of one Agnes Wallace and her firstborn Cyril. It was made by CR Ashbee, a contemporary and friend of William Morris. Ashbee was a leading light in the arts and crafts movement having set up a workshop in Haslemere where the reredos remained.
On opening the doors we discovered two magnificent carved angels in the wings. As you can see they are handsome and of fine quality. These photographs do not really do them justice. They are much better close up.
In the centre of the reredos is a crucifixion scene in which Our Lady and St. John kneel in adoration before the Saviour. Stars can be seen in the sky reminding us of the heavenly dimension and spiritual significance of this event.
The reredos must now be mounted which is proving a challenge in and of itself. For the item, being quality, is heavy! Fortunately we have architects and antique experts in the congregation who were all offering advice this morning. The aumbry which was located in the Sacred Heart chapel will be moved to the Lady Chapel.
What a great gift and how fitting that this reredos has made it’s way to us. For we at St. Anselm’s are passionate about upholding an English spirituality that lies at the heart of the Ordinariate vision. So beautiful items of ecclesial furniture made by great English craftsmen are right up our street!
God has been very good to us here in Pembury. There is something rather special happening here as year succeeds to year…