Monday, 9 June 2008

Round and about Huntingdon

A few weeks ago, I spent a day with my old friend Fr Nicholas Kearney, who is the parish priest of Huntingdon (the town principally renowned as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell [hiss]). We toured around a little, and he showed me one or two interesting sites. At Houghton, my eye was caught by this tombstone, right by the church door:

Sorry the pic isn't much good; it was taken with my phone. The stone commemorates one Thomas Garner, a blacksmith, who died in 1826. His epitaph reads:

My sledge and hammers lie declined
My bellows too have lost their wind
My fire's extinct, my forge decay'd
My vice is in the dust all laid
My coal is spent, my iron gone
My nails are drove, my work is done
My fire dried corpse here lies at rest
My soul smoke-like, soars to be blest"

We also visited a little Catholic church. I am kicking myself because I have forgotten where it was. It may have been St Ives or St Neots—perhaps a reader may recognize it. At any rate, here are the pics. Again, you have to forgive the photo quality. The remarkable altarpiece was painted by a son of the famous campaigner, Victoria Gillick. I see on the net that there is a well-respected abstract artist called Liam Gillick, but whether this is the same chap, I don't know. In any event, it is encouraging to see work like this still being done, and done more than competently, too. The church was formerly a nonconformist chapel, and it has been transformed very successfully into a very attractive Catholic church in the early 19th-century style. I'm not utterly convinced that I like the lavender paint, however!

I do wish I'd been able to take a better picture of the painting. The altar actually is not ad orientem, but it looks like it, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog when searching for something quite different... but anyway, the painter is my brother, James Gillick... you may have found this out by now given the lapse of time since your post! The church is Saint Joseph's in Saint Neots. Liam Gillick is our cousin. You could have a look at James' website at Cheerio! Gabriel