Newly-redecorated chapel at St. Anselm’s, Pembury

Another post from Fr. Ed Tomlinson:

The beautification of the side chapel at St. Anselm’s, which we have dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has been completed. And what a transformation we have witnessed. The wall having been plastered and painted and the new reredos placed over the altar. And, not shown in the picture above, a new curtain for the confessional has been lovingly made by some members of the congregation. Do click on the images to see enlarged versions.

newly-decorated-sacred-heart-chapelThe magnificent centre piece of this newly restored chapel is a reredos, donated to us from a parish in Surrey, dated 1900 and the creation of a member of the Arts and Crafts Movement: C. R. Ashbee.

The reredos is pictured in Alan Crawford’s book ‘C. R Ashbee: Architect, Designer and Romantic Socialist” where he writes the following:

(He created) A reredos…for St. Stephen’s Shottermill, in Surrey, in 1900. When it is open, this reredos reveals faintly Gothic cusping, and sparse vibrant figures carved in decorative low relief by Edward G. Bramwell; but its special feature is that Ashbee designed each of the panels to be about seven inches deep, so that when it is closed it looks like a big box, as his cabinets did, and it is held together by his usual massive hinges. If Ashbee had had a good deal of church work to do, this kind of treatment might have been interestingly developed; but as things turned out these were isolated examples.”

I am indebted to the parish of Shottermill for having bequeathed such a magnificent gift and to the priest friend, a skilled seeker of ecclesiastical furniture, who put me in touch with them. The former parish no longer need it having decided to turn a chapel into cafe space for missional work. I am also indebted to Pat who spent every evening this past week painting the church to ready it for Christmas. What a labour of love! And to the Hoare family for renovating the confessional curtain. How wonderful to witness continued progress in our parish.

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