Saturday 23 February 2008

Something in Sompting

I am very fortunate in my parish to have a number of mediæval churches within the bounds. Because this part of the world was quite important until the middle ages, when it seems to have declined rather, many of these churches are Saxon or Norman, and sometimes (as at Steyning) quite impressive. This church is the parish church of Sompting, actually just outside my parish, and its tower is one of the oldest in the country, dating from Saxon times. It gives me pleasure to think that bells have rung for Mass maybe for even longer than they have rung for the Reformed services—this tower was already ancient at the Reformation.
I was visiting Sompting the other day with some friends, and came across this, standing by the organ. I suppose it had to happen some day. I'd heard of Action Men with vestments, but now it seems we have Rev. Barbie.

And yes, the vicar is also a woman.


Anonymous said...

This is not a Barbie, Father. :-)

Anonymous said...

It is just waiting for pins to be put in it!

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Good heavens.

This is St. Mary's, Sompting, I think.

The Saxon church tower is extraordinary. In fact I think it is unique in England.

Archtecturally, its shape is called the Rhenish Helm (or Rhineland Helemet).

There exist censers of this shape from about the same period.

The roof originally would have been shingled.

It is strange to think that this tower, still standing, was built before the Norman conquest by men who probably had gazed on Roman ruins.
It would have been nearly 500 years old at the time of the Reformation.

Now, of course, it is well over a thousand years old.

The church itself was rebuilt in the early fourteenth century, I think.
Only 600 years old !

There is various published material on this church, and even a website.

No, I don't the name of the website.
Interested readers should google for Sompting.

No comment on the Lady Vicar doll !

gemoftheocean said...

Nope, not a Barbie, but you can be forgiven, because presumably you didn't have one whilst growing up!

[Although you may have had the UK equivalent of a G.I. Joe action man.]

Around these parts (southern California) a while back there was the bumper sticker one would occasionally see: "When I grow up, I want to be Barbie, that b**** has EVERYTHING!"

Thanks of the pic of the Saxon church tower.

gemoftheocean said...

[BTW, Dr. Peter is exhibiting still more evidence of why he should have his own blog!]

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pastor in Monte said...

The removed comment was an advertisement.

leutgeb said...

I'm with Heidi and Karen, Father. That's not Rev Barbie, that's the Rev Cindy, or one of her second cousins.

Jeffrey Smith said...

Doesn't surprise me at all. A couple summers ago, I went on a historical tour that included a local Episcopalian church. The tourguide, a retired Lutheran minister, and I both came close to heart failure. There was a rubber duckie on the font. I don't think it was left there by a child, either.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday School children have great fun changing the vestments of "Little Erika" (she has a full set of red, violet, green, white, gold, and rose-pink), to match the colour of the day or of the season. A great teaching-aid for them, whilst "Big Erika" (the parish priest) changes her own in the vestry.

Seriously, (I say in all ecumenical love) some of you Romans need to lighten up slightly. You chaps get a gang of minor clerics to dress up your Bishop in his vestments in the sanctuary before he clebrates his pontifical high mass; we Anglicans get the Sunday School kids to dress up a doll as a teaching aid. I know which one sounds more strange to me..... but maybe its just a cultural thing?!

Love from us to you. x

Pastor in Monte said...

I'm sorry, anonymous, if any of us caused offence (re your exhortation to 'lighten up'), but re-reading the posts, I can't see that anyone has actually taken it overly seriously—I find 'action man' priests also comical.
But we would prefer not to be addressed as 'you Romans', please.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely NO offence was caused - or intended! As it happens this blog is greatly enjoyed by a large number of Anglicans (it has come up in conversation, in my presence, in two different groups of Anglicans within the last six days). As a result I can vouch for at least 6 Anglican laity and 4 Anglican priests who read fairly regularly. We missed you during the temporary "loss of transmission".

Every blessing in your triduum and beyond.

PS: I'll try not to say "you Romans", but it's hard to find a suitable alternative. We're the Catholics and you're the Romans - that's the way we've always been brought up! How about calling you the "RCs" - would that work?

Pastor in Monte said...

Anonymous: thanks for your comment. RC is, I suppose a common enough abbreviation of Roman Catholic; though it is an appellation we rarely use ourselves. Actually, I suppose we use RC more than 'Roman Catholic'. As you know, we refer to ourselves simply as 'Catholic' as we have done for hundreds of years.
Every blessing for Easter &c.