Friday 6 June 2014 started badly. I had downloaded all the photos off my camera last night, and this morning it would not turn on, or off, or anything. I do not like being camera-less. We had a day planned in Salisbury to meet Jo, her daughter Anna, and the boys. We park and rode into Salisbury from Wilton – that worked well. We were looking for coffee and found St Thomas’s House, a pop-up pantry for the homeless, and a coffee morning to help fund it. An interesting pineapple and chilli cake. “Do visit our ancient church,” they said, but I had no camera. “Do they sell cameras in that Sony shop?” I asked. They do, I came out with a very nice new Sony Cyber-shot – £300. Happy Peter. Julie went to Waterstone’s and spent money on books – I could hardly complain.
I went to explore the church of St Thomas and St Edmund – excellent website at http://stthomassalisbury.co.uk/ – and the church is marvellous. It is traditionally believed that the original wooden church was built as a place of worship for the men working on the new Cathedral. It was dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury about 1220 – Edmund was only attached when his parish church was declared redundant. A small stone church was built after 1226, and then superseded by a rebuilding programme in 1447 with a longer chancel. Further building in about 1548 gave us the church of today. This is the City’s church – the Cathedral serves the Diocese.
Christ in Majesty is sat on a rainbow, hands raised, with the marks of the crucifixion on his hands and side. Beneath him are the twelve apostles, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. On the left we can see a graveyard with the graves opening and the dead being helped out by angels and led to glory. On the other side flames are rising from the ground and devils are in charge of the proceedings. You can see an ale wife and a miser. It was painted between 1470 and 1500, covered in whitewash in 1593. It was discovered again in 1819, and renovated by Clayton and Bell in 1881. More work was done in the C20.
The Nave roof is pretty amazing too. There are apparently 250 angels in church. This one was taken to test the zoom!
The font is beside the children’s chapel – apparently the church’s Sunday School was founded in 1785 and is the third oldest in the country. I’ll take their word for it! These are the Royal Arms of Elizabeth I showing the Lion with a dragon, rather than the later Scots unicorn. There are 18 heraldic funeral hatchments dotted around the church, from families of the parish in the C17 and C18. St George’s Altar is formed from a late medieval tomb of the Godmanstone family.
The Lady Chapel was rededicated to Our Lady and St Edmund in 1984. There are three rare medieval wall paintings of the Virgin Mary. There’s also a nice picture of Mary in one of the windows – and I don’t know which one.
I had a slight problem when, after about 20 photos, I was told that the internal memory was full. I spent a happy few minutes working out how to delete images – the shop people had photoed each other and photoed out of the window! Then I filled the internal memory again. The leaflet says “Don’t miss the Tudor Quarter Clock Jacks” … guess what I missed. No doubt I missed other things too. I started with cake, saw a stunning Doom, and found a lively, active church – from the look of it, doing excellent work in the City.