London – Lambeth Palace

Monday 30 April 2018, and the Bishop had asked me to attend a meeting of Diocesan European Link Officers at Lambeth Palace. We had been promised an opportunity to enjoy the gardens – but the weather was appalling. The conference was depressing. I won’t write what I think about Brexit. As someone said, you wouldn’t change a Golf Club Constitution when only 48% voted in favour.

The Palace, which is the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has a good website. You enter through Morton’s Tower – built in 1490 by Cardinal John Morton (I wonder how much building he did …). A red brick Tudor gatehouse, with welcoming custodians. “You’re a bit wet” they said – I had walked the four miles from Euston. The church next door is St Mary’s at Lambeth – which is now the lovely Garden Museum – website. I haven’t been here for a few years, when I go back, I will blog it.

The Great Hall was C13, rebuilt in 1660, and rebuilt again after it was destroyed in WW2. We didn’t go in – apparently it houses some of the Library collections. I visited the library for an exhibition about the Prayer Book (or was it the Authorised Version?) a few years ago – must go back. Here is the library website.

We met in the Guard Room – apparently where the Archbishop’s army would store their weapons. If we are the Archbishop’s army … . Impressive portraits, and an impressive corridor.

We had a lunchtime service in the Chapel, and I went back afterwards to take some photos. It was a good service, and an excellent lunch. It was badly damaged inWW2 and the windows and roof were replaced afterwards. The ceiling is by Leonard Henry Rosoman in 1988. It is entitled “From darkness to light” – as one of my colleagues commented “the Sistine Chapel it ain’t”. There is a bit about his other work here. The panels depict Pope Gregory the Great commissioning Saint Augustine to visit England in AD 597. St. Thomas à Becket is shown as a young man hunting, in a reference to the image that can be found alongside a depiction of his murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. The central panels show the enthronement of Archbishop Parker and scenes from the first Lambeth Conference. The last image above the altar shows Christ in Glory.

The stained glass also dates to the late 1950s restoration, inserted into the window frames that remained. The glass is by Carl Edwards and Hugh Powell. If you are really interested there is a 113 page guide to the windows here. Nice altar frontal – I like it more than the roof paintings.

The woodwork is rather nice, and each seat is marked with a symbol from the one of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. The focus on my camera is not working properly, so only the tiger is worth putting in this blog. The Anglican Communion website is very comprehensive – here – whatever the politicians decide, we will still be in communion with Europe and countries across the world.

 

 

 

 

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