Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Reflections on the Coronation

In my previous post I referred to a pair of articles in the Royal Martyr Church Union’s The Royal Martyr Annual: Coronation Issue, 2024.

These were brought to my attention by a friend and repay reading. 

The first is a short piece by the Bishop of Edinburgh about his presence in Westminster Abbey as Usher of the White Rod. I posted about this recently in Unicorns

The Bishop sets out the background history and then describes his part in the Coronation. I would agree with him that it is a pity he was not asked to actually bear the White Rod in the Procession. A place should be found for the Usher then and at the National Service of Thanksgiving in St Giles to exercise his office and as part of a continuing tradition. I would also regret that the White Rod does not make an appearance at the opening of a new session of the Scottish Parliament alongside the Crown and the Lord Lyon Court. It is an ancient office and one that could be reintegrated into public ceremonies of state.

The second article is by Canon William Guilliford and described as an initial liturgical discussion of the Coronation last year. So far I have only been able to read it through quickly in a scanned version of the text but it appears to make many points I would make if asked to compose a similar piece. Unlike Canon Guilliford I see no merit at all in the anointing screen, but otherwise I am pretty much in agreement with him.  

Tracking down a hard copy of these texts would be well worth while for anyone interested in the Rite and thinking as to how it can be celebrated in the future.

Charles I King and Martyr

Yesterday was the 375th anniversary of the death of King Charles I in 1649.

The cult of the Martyr King is introduced by a Wikipedia article at King Charles the Martyr
There is a 2019 article by Charles Coulombe from The Catholic Herald which looks at the tradition from a Catholic standpoint and which can be seen at Is King Charles I a saint?

Over past days groups such as the Society of King Charles the Martyr and the Royal Martyr Church Union have held their annual commemorations, whilst the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, Pusey House in Oxford, and St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh as well, no doubt, as many High Anglican and Anglo-Catholic parishes, had eucharistic celebrations in the King’s honour.

I will write separately about interesting articles in the The Royal Martyr Annual  Coronation Issue, 2024 from RMCU.

The Antiquary, who is always worth watching online, has a useful introductory video about the events leading up to the King’s death which can be viewed at The Trial and EXECUTION of King Charles I

In the video a picture of the Martyr King is shown which was new to me. A quick look on the Internet revealed that is part of the Royal Collection. Assigned to the 1660s it was acquired by Queen Victoria in 1892. The inspiration for the painting was the well known  frontispiece to the Eikon Basilike attributed to King Charles. The online RCT catalogue entry, with a photograph of the painting, can be seen at British School, 17th century  - A Memorial Picture of Charles I (1600-49)

I have posted in past years about the Royal Martyr. These posts can be seen at The Royal Martyr written in 2011, "Remember" from 2012, Commemorating the Royal Martyr, from 2013, Commemorating King Charles I from 2016, and The Last Speech of King Charles I from 2021.

My post Secondary relics of King Charles I written in 2015 covers some of the memorabilia that survive from the life of the King.

My home town has a very particular link to the events of 1649, as I set out in 2011, in Post Mortem Patris Pro Filio.

In Col John Morris I gave a link to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography life of the garrison commander. If that link does not work try accessing the ODNB online using an academic or public library card.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Burying the ‘A word’ and Septuagesima

Today in the traditional calendar of both the Catholic Church and also that of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer it is Septuagesima, the beginning of the ‘gesimas’ preparing for, and in many ways anticipating, Lent, which of course prepares the faithful for Passiontide, Holy Week and finally the crown of the liturgical year at Easter. 

Looking back I see that over the years I have posted quite a bit about this point in the ecclesiastical calendar and although they cross-reference I think it might be useful to list and link them in chronological order for those who might wish to re-read them or read them for the first time. Thus although there is inevitably some element of repetition in them I think each has something distinct to say or share. To avoid too much confusion I have set them out in two subsections.
The first part looks particularly at the change of  season and the ceremonial abandonment of the ‘Alleluia’:

Burying the Alleluia

Bidding farewell to the Alleluia

The second part of the list looks rather more at the whole seventeen days of the season:


Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima

The Season of Septuagesima


In addition I see that the New Liturgical Movement has a lengthy and informative discussion today of the historic Milanese usages for these coming days. It can be seen at Septuagesima in the Ambrosian Rite

For those following the Novus Ordo calendar or its equivalent you still have until Shrove Tuesday to use the A-word and then, maybe, go and decently bury it in the churchyard pending its disinterment on Holy Saturday.

A prayerful Septuagesima to all my readers.

Saturday 27 January 2024

The Cerne Abbas Giant back in the news

The Cerne Abbas Giant has once more been making the historical headlines in newspapers and online. I have written several times in recent years on this site about this figure and the important new research into its date and origins. 

Now two academic researchers from Oxford University have advanced the theory that the figure was a prominent marker for a site recognised as being for the assembly of Anglo-Saxon troops.

This research is set out in an article from the University on Phys.org at New research shows the Cerne Abbas Giant was a muster station for King Alfred's armies

The Daily Telegraph has a good article about the chalk figures in the English landscape by Matthew Green. It concentrates in particular on the Cerne Abbas Giant, the Long Man of Wilmington, and the White Horse at Uffington - the three which appear unquestionably ancient, even if there remain considerable questions as to their origins, alteration and meaning. Other, later, examples are also discussed and put in their historical context.

By the way a friend made the point yo me years ago that when in Dorset one should send postcards to friends of the Cerne Abbas Giant - it is, after all, the only obscene image you can send en clair through the Royal Mail….

Friday 26 January 2024

The Thames Frost Fair 1683-84 - one of a kind

340 years ago the frozen Thames in London hosted one of the most famous of the Frost Fairs.

The BBC News website has an article about the 1683-84 Frost Fair in London when the Thames froze so solidly that people could not only cross on foot but a sizeable temporary fair developed complete with printing presses.

The article can be seen at The gaiety and grimness of The Great Frost

For all that this was in the so-called seventeenth century “Little Ice Age” it was not by any reckoning the first nor the last time the river froze over. 

The cause of the ‘Little Ice Age’, and indeed when it began remains a matter of continuing research. The variety of factors that were or may have been involved is indicated in Frost fairs and the Little Ice Age

The wider implications and consequences of such climate change is discussed in an article on the Conversation website from 2022 at The original climate crisis – how the little ice age devastated early modern Europe

Similar points are made in a Canadian academic study of recorded extreme weather events in the same era that was outlined by an article in the Daily Telegraph in 2022 at Frozen birds and flooded towns: How Britain grappled with climate change 500 years ago

Extreme weather conditions in and around Bristol in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as recorded by a local man are indicated in a 2021 Daily Mail article at This week is nothing compared to age when snow pulled down trees

Two recent, different studies which look at the origins of the ‘Little Ice Age’ with similar, if not identical conclusions, can be seen from Science Norway in 2020 at What actually started the Little Ice Age? and a US based study offering a really quite sudden and drastic change around the year 1400 was reported by The Independent in 2022 and can be seen at Scientists discover ‘surprising’ cause of Europe’s little ice age

Wikipedia has an account of the frost fairs at River Thames frost fairs

There is another account spanning the centuries at The Thames Froze Over

There is a more detailed, illustrated account from Just History Posts, at When The Thames Froze Over: The ‘Little Ice Age’ Thames Frost Fairs

Art UK has a 2017 article describing the Frost Fairs and their artistic legacy in Frost fairs and the frozen Thames

History Today has an article about the 1683-84 fair which can be seen at The Great Frost Fair of 1683-4

The seventeenth century freezes are outline in an article from Shakespeare’s Globe at The year the River Thames froze over and there is a quite detailed account from Walter Thornbury’s 1878 Old and New London at The river Thames: Part 3 of 3

The 1715-16 Frost Fair is described in a Daily Express article at 300 years ago people played fun and games on the Thames

The National Archives blog writes about the material they have referring to the frozen Thames at Frost Fairs on the Thames

Project Gutenberg has the text of that not inconsiderable late nineteenth century antiquarian William Andrews’ book on the frost fairs and the many instances of the Thames freezing over at The Project Gutenberg eBook of Famous Frosts and Frost Fairs in Great Britain, chronicled from the earliest to the present time, by William Andrews.

The last Frost Fair was held in 1814 and its bicentenary was marked by a BBC News article in 2014 which can be seen at Frost fair: When an elephant walked on the frozen River Thames

My London has an account of how the flow of the river was changed in the nineteenth century such that the Thames no longer freezes, with or without recent climate changes, at Building the Tube means the Thames no longer freezes over

Thursday 25 January 2024


Staying with the Scottish theme and another national symbol The Art Newspaper has an article previewing the first exhibition to be staged at the new museum which has been created in Perth. This is about the Unicorn as depicted over the centuries in art.

The article has illustrations of several examples of unicorns in heraldry, textiles, jewellery, and illustrations. One item in particular caught my eye, which is the elegant head, ornamented with a Unicorn of the ceremonial White Rod. A precursor of the royal sceptre the White Rod and its bearer was to the historic Scottish Parliament what Black Rod is to the English and eventually UK Parliament. In the wake of the 1707 Union the office of White Rod remained and as an office separate from others eventually came to be vested via the Walker Trustees in the Bishop of Edinburgh as Heritable Usher of the White Rod. Given the different constitutional positions within the realm of the Church of Scotland and of the Episcopalian Church of Scotland there is a delightful irony in this. As the Heritable Usher  the present Bishop of Edinburgh bore the White Rod in the procession at Westminster Abbey at the Coronation last year.

The history of the rod and office are set out by Wikipedia at White RodThere is a little more about the office in their article at Gentleman Usher

There are several pictures of the White Rod and a bit more about its history in an interesting blog post from last year from the National Museum of Scotland at The Majestic and the Mundane: the material culture of coronations

There are other articles about the exhibition from the Evening Standard which is quite detailed at Tickets on sale for first major exhibition on Scotland’s national animal

The exhibition will be open from March 30th to September 22nd.

Oldest surviving tartan recreated

With today being Burns Night I seems appropriate to post something with links to traditional Scottish life and culture, and few things, if indeed anything, are mores emblematic of Scotland than tartan.

The oldest surviving example of a Scottish tartan, dated to some point in the sixteenth century, has been recreated. The piece of cloth was found a while ago in a peat bog in Glen Affric and its design and colour scheme has now been reproduced.

There are accounts of the piece and its recreation from Sky News at Glen Affric Tartan: Experts recreate Scotland's oldest tartan

The V&A Dundee website has an article about the Glen Affric piece in connection with the recent exhibition at the V&A Dundee which can be seen at Scotland’s oldest tartan discovered by Scottish Tartans Authority
and from Yahoo in connection with the same V&A Dundee exhibition Tartan at New research finds Glen Affric peat bog discovery is Scotland's oldest tartan

The Independent wrote about the piece at Oldest tartan in Scotland to go on public display for first time

There are also similar articles from the Smithsonian Magazine at This 16th-Century Cloth Is Scotland's Oldest-Known Tartan

The history of tartan is a complicated one, with not a few relatively modern misinterpretations or misconceptions creeping in along the way.
There appear to be two decent online accounts of its development from tartan manufacturers Kinnnaird Worldwide at History of the Tartan
and from Kinloch Anderson at History of Tartan and Highland Dress

From these accounts it appears not to be entirely clear if ‘tartan’ in early references simply meant a type of cloth produced in the Highlands rather than what we understand by the term today. However the Glen Affric survival does indeed look like what was clearly recognised by the eighteenth century and has been ever since as tartan.

The articles linked to cite references to purchases for King James III and his Queen Margaret in 1471, to the fact that King James V wore ‘tartan’ in 1535 for hunting and in 1538 purchased three ells of ‘helland tartan’. His daughter Queen Mary I wore tartan when visiting the Highlands in the 1560s. A 1587 reference could well indicate something like the later idea of a specific Clan tartan.

The recreated Glen Affric design has bright, natural, colours, a counter blast to the all too frequent modern perception that for most of the population in the past clothing, and indeed life in general, was monochromatic.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Cambridge college wall paintings

As part of renovation work at Christ’s College in Cambridge three heraldic wall paintings from the time of the refoundation of the college at the beginning of the sixteenth century by the formidable Lady Margaret Beaufort have been discovered. They have not been seen, it is thought, since 1738 and of an imperial crown, a red rose, and, apparently, a fleur de lys.

These are all eminently appropriate in a college founded by the King’s Mother. The red rose was a badge not so much of the main line of the Lancastrian kings but rather of their cadet branch the Beauforts. In portraits King Henry VII is sometimes shown holding a red rose to complement the white one of his Yorkist Queen. The two flower badges were not, it would appear, combined until the accession of King Henry VIII, in whose veins flowed the blood of both these branches of the Plantagenets.

The paintings are described and illustrated in a post from BBC News at Medieval paintings uncovered by builders

Another Anglo-Saxon cross found in Yorkshire

Many historic churches in Yorkshire have a fragment or rather more of a standing cross from the Anglo-Saxon age either in the building or occasionally the churchyard. Quite a few of those which are only a portion were discovered during restoration work of the churches during the nineteenth century. It is unusual for examples to be found these days.

However the grounds of the seventeenth century East Riddlesden Hall near Keighley have yielded two portions that fit together from such a cross. The first part was found in 1959 and then the second part thirty years later. They have now been reconnected and put on display at the Hall. The cross is dated to the period c.900 -1066.

The story of the discovery together with illustrations - although it assigns the eagle as an emblem to the wrong St John - can be seen on the BBC News website at Fragments of Anglo-Saxon cross go on display

The National Trust website for East Riddlesden Hall gives something about the cross fragments as well as a concise history of the house at East Riddlesden Hall's history

The illustrated National Trust catalogue entry for the piece can be seen at Part of an Anglo-Saxon stone cross 201444

There is much more detailed article about the cross and others from the same sculptor or school at ‘The Display of the Anglo-Saxon Crosses of the Keighley Area’

Originally crosses such as this would appear to have been painted and served as churchyard crosses, grave markers or preaching stations. Others may have served to indicate boundaries or as way markers along routes, rather as one still sees crucifixes in the parts of the French or south German countryside.


The Knaresborough Hoard

The website Phys.org has a report of research into the Knaresborough Hoard, a collection of Roman bronze tableware found somewhere near the Yorkshire town in the mid-nineteenth century. It was given to the Yorkshire Museum in York by the local worthy who had apparently found it. I am not sure how well it is known, in so far as I do not recall seeing it on my various visits to the Museum, and indeed it does not appear to have been studied very much until the recent research.

The research into the hoard is also reported in a similar article from Archaeology which can be seen at Bronze Hoard From Roman Britain Analyzed

There is now a third article from Ancient Origins which gives more details and insights revealed by the research. It can be seen at Knaresborough Hoard Reveals Long- Forgotten Secrets

On the assumption that the vessels are indeed tableware, and not of ritual significance, and whilst it is obviously less spectacular than the dinner service of the Mildenhall treasure this collection does suggest something of the style and display that could be used to grace a dinner table or a villa in provincial Britannia.

Monday 22 January 2024

More on the Roman crucifixion from Fenstanton

Live Science has now reported about the remains of the Roman slave who was crucified probably in the mid-third century. I posted about this discovery in A Roman crucifixion from near Cambridge.

The Live Science article adds some interesting details about the burial of the body.

Restoring and exhibiting Roman armour

Both the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph report on one of the highlights at a forthcoming exhibition at British Museum on Roman army. This is an articulated arm guard, one of only three to survive from the whole of the Roman Empire. It is in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland, and, having now been restored, it will go on permanent display at the Museum after its display in London.

Helmets have survived in a number of instances, both what might be termed standard issue ones and also examples like the Ribhesyer parade example.

The arm piece is from the Roman military site at Trimontium near Melrose. It was found in 1906 in an excavation there and partially reconstructed. Only now have all the fragments been reassembled.

The exhibition Legion: Life in the Roman Army is on show at the British Museum February 1st to June 23rd. The Museum gives an idea of the riches they have drawn together for this display at Legion-life-in-the-Roman-army

Sunday 21 January 2024

Requiems for King Louis XVI

Today is the anniversary of the death of King Louis XVI.shadow_rc


King Louis XVI in his last months

Image: Wikimedia

The website Tea at Trianon has an article from 2009 which is a profile of the King written to rebutt many of the oft-repeated but inaccurate things said about him and which can be seen at Louis XVI: A King Maligned

There is an article from History Today in 2004 which looks at some of the early influences on the future King which can be read at Birth of Louis XVI of France

Louis XVI (1754-1793) king of France from 1774 until guillotined during the French Revolution
King Louis XVI as a young man

Image: Media Storehouse

The Daily Telegraph had an article in 2012 about the death of the King and a blood relic which also included the executioner Sanson’s recollections of his victim’s steadfastness and faith. It can be seen at Louis XVI blood mystery 'solved'

In past years I have referred to requiems offered for him and I have made another online search for links to such liturgical celebrations.

The New Liturgical Movement in 2013 had a report of one such Mass at Requiem for Louis XVI in Paris

Last year they reported on the Mass for him art St Eugéne et Ste Cècile in Paris in Annual Requiem for King Louis XVI in Paris

Videos of the 2018 Mass can be seen at louis xvi requiemfrom last year at louis xvi requiemand the one offered yesterday for this year’s anniversary at louis xvi requiem
all from Ite missa est.

Tea at Trianon has a video from 2020 of the Requiem offered that year at A Requiem Mass for Louis XVI

A Catholic Life has a note with photographs from 2013 about the Mass at Requiem for His Royal Highness, King Louis XVI

The Spanish born Legitimist claimant to the French throne - King Louis XX to his supporters - who also claims the title Duc d’Anjou from the line of King Felipe V of Spain is featured in an article from 2017 on Church Militant  French Royalists Commemorate Murder of King Louis XVI

It is quite interesting to learn that his birthday is August 25th, the feast of St Louis (IX) but the reference to the accidental death of his father does seem, well, somewhat gratuitous….

Today is also the anniversary of the accession of the current Orleanist claimant - King Jean IV - in 2019. Wikipedia has an entry about him at 

From this side of the Channel there is notice of a Mass that was celebrated at Rye in 2015 in association with the London Oratory at  Requiem Mass for King Louis XVI

The Anglican/Episcopalian website Justus Anglican has an article about the King, very much in the tradition of celebrations in the High Anglican tradition for King Charles I, King and Martyr in this country at Louis XVI of France, King and Martyr

That last website includes two Collects for the King, of which I am reproducing the ones in more traditional language:

O Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Louis to an earthly Throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and, when his throne was violently overturned, didst give him boldness to confess the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may in ready obedience accept both prosperity and adversity at thy hand, and that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Louis Triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Pray for the repose of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, their son King Louis XVII, for the Royal House of France and for the Church in France.

Saturday 20 January 2024

St Sebastian

Today is the feast, along with St Fabian, of St Sebastian.  

The story of the shooting by a firing squad of Diocletian’s archers of Sebastian was a fruitful subject for painters in the Italian Renaissance anxious to display their mastery of painting the male nude.

Earlier examples are less common, and so it was interesting to see on the New Liturgical Movement an article by Gregory Di Pippo about a Florentine altarpiece showing St Sebastian which was commissioned in 1374 and which is more in the International Gothic style - or perhaps I should write as it evolves towards what became the visual style of the early Renaissance in what is usually seen as its home city.

The well illustrated article can be seen at A 14th Century Altarpiece of St Sebastian

The story of the saint, his cult, relics and significant place in art history, and including a link to depictions by many artists, are all surveyed in considerable detail by Wikipedia at Saint Sebastian

As the article points out he was a ‘plague saint’, along with St Roch, and thus popular in the wake of the Black Death. Whilst no doubt invoked in England as in other European countries on such a basis he is rare as a patronal saint for churches here. The only ancient example I can call to mind is the parish church at Great Gonerby, immediately to the north of Grantham, in Lincolnshire.

St Sebastian Pray for us

The Imperial Cult under Constantine

Newsweek reports on the apparent discovery at Spello in central Italy of a temple for the pagan cult of the Emperor and his family from the time of Constantine the Great. The suggestion is that the temple was built in the 330s, the last years of Constantine’s reign.

The significance of the discovery is that it shows the co-existence of a traditional pagan, patriotic cult alongside the newly enfranchised Christian church which received such munificent patronage from the Emperor. The fact that Constantine managed to balance a plurality of beliefs under his rule is well-known. This latest archaeological discovery indicates the vitality of the Imperial cult and its continuing appeal to important sections of Roman life and society. 

Constantine and his successors increasingly managed to blend the idea of offering religious honours to the political leadership with the new recognition of that leadership as being Divinely sanctioned by the Christian God to produce the Byzantine and Orthodox synthesis.

A while ago I came upon a video about a reconstruction of the great statue of Constantine whose remains are to be seen in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The scale, the absolute monumentality, of such sculptures of deities and Emperors is brought out well, and not least by Constantine as Emperor, as the depute of Jupiter/Zeus, but also as a prefigurement of representations of Christ in Majesty and in Judgement. The Imperial cult was very clearly alive and flourishing under the first Christian Emperor.

Friday 19 January 2024

Praying for Holy Popes

Rorate Cæli has a prayer composed by that stalwart defender of orthodox and traditional belief and practice in the Catholic Church Bishop Athanasius Schneider. 

In these troubled and uncertain times in the Church this seems both needful and helpful.

The prayer, designed for daily use, is as follows:

Prayer for Imploring Holy Popes

Kyrie eleison!    Christe eleison!    Kyrie eleison!
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd! With your almighty hand you guide Your pilgrim Church through the storms of each age.

Adorn the Holy See with holy popes who neither fear the powerful of this world or compromise with the spirit of the age, but preserve, strengthen, and defend the Catholic Faith unto the shedding of their blood, and observe, protect, and hand on the venerable liturgy of the Roman Church.

O Lord, return to us through holy popes who, inflamed with the zeal of the Apostles, proclaim to the whole world:  “Salvation is found in no other than in Jesus Christ. For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which they should be saved” ( Acts 4: 10-12 )

Through an era of holy popes, May the Holy See - which is home to all who promote the Catholic and Apostolic Faith - always shine as the cathedral of truth for the whole world. Hear us, O Lord, and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church, grant us holy Popes, grant us many holy Popes! Have mercy on us and hear us! Amen.

Thursday 18 January 2024

The Sykes family and East Riding Churches

Christopher Howse had a recent article in the Daily Telegraph about the very considerable outlay by the Sykes family in the nineteenth century on church restoration on their estates in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It can be seen at Sacred Mysteries: A fully tattooed church in the East Riding

There is more about these churches at Sykes Churches Trail

The history of the Sykes family is set out by Wikipedia at Sykes family of Sledmere and the life of the principal patron of church restoration at Sir Tatton Sykes, 5th BaronetThe life of his son, remembered for his central part in the Sykes-Picot Pact of 1916, is at Mark Sykes

The continuing legacy of the family is very obvious to anyone who reads the landscape of the Wolds around their country house at Sledmere. Not only their substantial late Georgian country house but the village at Sledmere, its monuments and the churches around but the countryside with its classic enclosure landscape of rectangular fields, straight roads and wide grass verges are all a tribute to the energy of the family as improving landowners.

The Sykes churches are works that are distinctive and indeed are fine craftsmanship. They are unquestionably High Victorian and very different from the style developed by Bodley and Comper in the last years of the nineteenth century. Their churches and church restorations could well pass for a pre-reformation interior, but whilst the Sykes churches might follow the principles of the medieval age, they are unquestionably of their own time. 

To be honest I must say I do not especially like the works the Sykes’ commissioned, whilst still being able to admire the skill of the artists and artisans involved in producing it as well as the abundant generosity of the family in giving it to communities in a relatively remote rural area. Definitely worth seeing if you are on the Wolds.

The restoration of Stowe

The Daily Telegraph recently had an article about the completion of the lengthy scheme to restore many of the interiors of Stowe in Buckinghamshire. 

A linked article from the Daily Telegraph from 2020 about restoration of the gardens, and in particular the statuary, at Stowe and schemes at other National Trust properties can be seen at 'The Nine Muses' recreated at Stowe after a century of archaeological detective work

The follies, temples and other garden features at Stowe have been famous and accessible for many years, but now the house, restored to much of its early nineteenth century splendour, can be seen much more as it was intended by its builders.

This restoration is reminiscent of the wonderful work being done at another monument to eighteenth century aristocratic ambition, wealth, and power at Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire

Amongst other things which marked out the later owners of Stowe was their surname, unique in being five barrelled as Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville. Imagine getting that onto a credit card….

Raised to what was to be one of the last non-royal dukedoms, a further re-creation of that of Buckingham, in 1822 the title died with the third Duke in 1889. His heiress was his daughter Lady Kinloss, whose descendant, the  present Lady Kinloss, would be the likely claimant to the English throne had King Henry VIII’s arrangement of the succession been adhered to in 1603. That claim by descent through the Seymours and the Percies passed to the Chandos family in the late eighteenth century.