Monday, 25 March 2013

The High Altar, St. Peter's Parish Church, Jersey, Channel Islands

I simply adore this Parish Church. Everything about it screams "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness"

The history will follow later, I just could not keep the photographs to myself any longer.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Parish Church of St. Martin Le Vieux, Jersey, Channel Islands

There has been a church on this site for 1,000 years or more. The first record is a charter of 1042 in which William, Duke of Normandy, granted to Cerisy Abbey in France, "the (Parish) Church of St. Martin the Old in Jersey, its lands and a third of its corn-tithe"

Slowly the original tiny chapel, on the site of the present chancel, grew into the current structure. First the nave was added and a century later a transept- making the building the shape of a cross. The tower (without the spire) was built. The 14th century saw the south  wall of the chancel opened up and the South Chapel (now the Lady Chapel) added. A century later the south nave was added and the present building was almost complete. An uncompleted chapel to the north of the chancel was started early in the 16th century and eventually finished to a reduced plan 200 years later; and finally the spire- first heard of in 1582- gave us the present church building.

Prior to 1550 and the Reformation, the Church in Jersey, was part of the Roman Catholic Church, and part of the French Diocese of Coutanche. In Febuary 1499 the Pope attached the Church in Jersey to the Diocese of Winchester which remains so today. After 1550 the living became an English Crown Appointment. The English prayer book was translated into French for Jersey. The Church was at one stage was a Huguenot Temple and many of its features destroyed. The chancel was boarded-off and used as the parish school until 1842.

The Beautiful "Ecce Homo" Window at the bottom of the South Nave

The Magnificent East Window depicting the Ascension was restored in 2000 by public donation

The Lady Chapel

The Saint Martin Statue. This wooden statue, presented in 1936 by Lady Trent, wife of Jesse Boot the founder of Boots Chemist.

Beautiful brass lectern

The standards in glass cases on the west wall by the door are those of the St. Martin,s Jersey Mitilia which was disbanded in 1946. A different motif is carved on the end of every pew in the Church.
The Pulpit 

Mosaic panels in the reredos represent the four Evangelists.

The Chancel was boarded off in 1550 and used as the parish school. It was restored 1842.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, Jersey, Channel Islands

The earliest known mention of St. Mary's church is in 1042, when Guillaume, Duc de Normandie, later William the Conqueror of England, gave to the Abbey of Cerisy in Normandy two "free" churches in Jersey, St. Mary and St. Martin (ecclesia Sancta Maria arsi monasterii et Sancti Martini veteris), with lands and a third of their wheat tithes and their advowsons. The name, St. Mary of the Burnt Monastery, suggests that the church was built on, or near the actual site of a primitive monastery which was destroyed by pirates. The fire, at whatever date it occurred, would have made building, or rebuilding, a matter of urgency.

It seems likely that this monastery at St. Mary was a daughter establishment of the known monastic centre in Sark, founded in about 570 by St. Maglorius (St. Mannelier) within sight and comparatively easy reach of the St. Mary coastline.

Lady Chapel (North Chancel) with remains of Norman Windows in the East Wall.

The evolution of the church building can be seen from the above photograph. In the earliest portion, the present north-east chapel, traces of two windows of the 11th or early 12th century date and of clear Norman type, were exposed on the east wall in 1978. This highly important discovery shows the only known instance of Norman windows in an east end in a local parish church.

South Chancel and High Altar 
Also revealed during the re plastering in 1977 was the piscina (on the right in this photograph) circa, 1342. Also an aumbry (on the left in this photograph). There are granite brackets on the east end wall which would have supported statues before the Reformation, possibly of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John.

View showing the vaulted roof.

The vaulted roof is of interest. The north, the oldest part, is supported with strong ribs at intervals, approximating to the buttresses on the outside, and this part of the roof is noticeably higher than the later, southern part.

The present pews, made of Gothenburg pine and were installed in 1865.

A large oak plaque, carved in relief.

In 1973 a large oak plaque, carved in relief, was presented by Major amd Mrs Gordon Rice and accepted by the Ecclesiastical Assembly for errection in the Parish Church. It depicts Christ and St. Margaret Mary, the 17th century nun and visionary of Paray-le-Monial who emphasised the love of Christ by encouraging devotion to His Sacred Heart.

A Lesser Known Character of the Reformation...

Ioan Iacob Heraclid (or Eraclid) (1511–1563), also known as Jacob Heraclides, was a Greek soldier and ruler of Moldavia from November 1561 to November 1563, most notable for being the first officially Protestant monarch in Eastern Europe.

Jakob Heraklides was a Greek solider of fortune from the Aegean Island of Samos, who made a career in western European armies and became fascinated by Latin Europe and western Christianity. Clearly charming and charismatic, he won the good opinion of Philipp Melancthon (German Reformer) during time in Wittenberg and he successfully served in Charles V's (Holy Roman Emperor, indeed Habsburg world monarch) armies and in Poland-Lithuania. His contact with the Reformed magnate family of Radziwill encouraged him away from his enthusiasm for Lutheranism, and it was also Prince Mickolaj Krzysztov of Radziwell who recommended him to service of the Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia  Having arrived there, Heraklides scented an opportunity to harness discontent against a ruler who was widely hated for collaborating with the Turkish Empire. Creatively drawing on his varied acquaintance in the West, he led an army backed by both the Habsburgs and by Lithuanian magnates, and in 1561 he succeeded in his bid to take over Moldavia, taking the Greek title of Despot. He paid tribute to the Turkish Sultan and saw himself as a champion of Christianity, and most remarkably he saw himself as a Protestant Christian and he regarded the religion of his birth with contempt.

Heraklides ordered Protestant worship at his Moldavian Court, appointed a Polish Reformer as Bishop, and called scholars from all over the Protestant World. Some were optimistic enough to accept the invitation, which was a mistake, because Heraklides' rule was rapidly undermined by his genuine and urgent commitment to Reformed Protestantism, in a land which knew only small communities of non-Moldavians not owing loyalty to the Orthodox hierarchy of bishops. If anything destroyed this monarch, it was the issue that seperated the Reformed from everyone else- their hatred of scared images. In the Despot's need for cash to support his government and army he plundered Orthodox monasteries, not exempting various precious metal crosses which were regarded with particular veneration, or worse still, the precious metal frames of icons; out of this bullion he minted a coinage which as was customary, bore his portrait.

Nothing was more calculated to enrage the Orthodox population, because it recalled for them the iconoclastic disputes which had torn apart the Byzantine Empire nearly a millennium before. Those ancient destroyers had denounced images, but showed no problems with the portraits of monarchs on coins: this inconsistency had been seen as a symptom of their wickedness by the victorious champions of icons. Now the same rhetoric was turned on Heraklides by the leaders of the Orthodox Church.

When Heraklides married the daughter of a great Polish aristocrat, rather than a Moldavian, his fate was sealed. His army melted away and he was butchered without mercy, as was the hapless widow of the late Polish bishop and anyone else whom the infuriated Moldavians decided was a Protestant.

A Church Notice

The Earl Bishop photographed this image on the Island of Jersey, The Parish Church of St. Peter.

St. Lawrence Parish Church, Jersey

No one can date the parish churches of Jersey precisely. Old parts were pulled down and re-built new chapels and aisles were added for their enlargement and, at St. Lawrence the process was such that no part of the original structure can be identified. St. Lawrence Parish had at least four chapels, St. Clair, St. Eutrope, St. Nicholas and St. Lawrence, of which the last gradually developed into the Parish Church.

It's patron was the Abbot of Blanche-Lande, who received the third part of the tithe, the Abbot of St. Sauveur le Vitcomte was alloted one-sixth and the Bishop of Avranche a half. The minister had sixteen vergees (seven acres) of land, and  the living was worth 35 livres tournois (£1.35p). The oldest document to mention it is a Charter of 1198, by which John (the Lord of the Isles, and later King of England) gave the Abbey of Blanche-Lande in Normandy the Church of St. Lawrence in Jersey. The consecration date of the Church of St. Lawrence extracted from the Livre Noir (supposedly an authentic document formerly kept in the Cathedral of Coutance) is given as Monday 4th January 1199.

It is almost certain that it (the Church) started life as a small chantry chapel on the site of the present chancel. When the family that owned it threw it open to their neighbours, a short nave was built. As the population increased the nave was lengthened. Then a tower and two transepts were added, to give the Church the form of a cross. It is interesting to note that the tower only attained its present height during the restoration of 1890-1892.

The north transept was swallowed later by the building of the north aisle. The south transept is now the south porch. In the 13th century, the Parish demolished the old nave and built the present one, longer and loftier than its predecessors. The stonework shows that it was added to the tower and not vice-versa. This meant that the nave had become much finer than the chancel, so in the 15th century the latter was pulled down and the present one built. The two last sections can be dated exactly. Sire Louis Hamptonne was Rector for fifty-six years (1502-1558). He was rich and generous; his benefactions included the addition to the Church of the beautiful Hamptonne Chapel, with it's vaulted roof (unique on the Island of Jersey)

and it's gargoyles, representing spirits of evil driven out by the worship within. The date of the chapel is 1524 and is carved on the north-east buttress.

Hamptonne was still Rector twenty-two years later, when the north aisle was added. In 1546, the Royal Court authorised authorised the sale of wheat rents belonging to the treasor to pay for the "enlargements of the Church by constructing a chapel alongside the nave". The building then attained its present shape and size.

Rector Hamptonne lived long enough to see great changes in his Church. For years, Protestant propaganda had been undermining the old faith, and many of the clergy themselves were attracted by the new views of the Reformation. In 1548 the Jersey States imported two French Huguenot Pastors "to expound the word of God to the people purely and sincerely", and since the Rectors contributed voluntarily to their support, we may assume that they were not opposed to reform.

(Above is a photograph of the long wooden Calvinist Communion Table, that is on display in the church of St. Lawrence.)

Hamptonne cannot have been pleased when the Royal Commissioners began to confiscate Church property. First all the obits and Masses were seized. In this way St. Lawrence lost twenty-four endowments, as well as bequests left to two fraternities of St. Nicholas and St. Katherine. In 1549 the Act of Uniformity forbade Latin Services and this was obeyed and the following year the Privy Council thanked the island for "embracing His Majesty's laws concerning Divine Services".

However, Jersey could not use Cranmer's Prayer Book, for this had not yet been translated into French. The only French Prayer Book available was that of the Huguenots, so Hamptonne and his brethren had to make use of that. Then came the order to remove all images, closely followed by another to surrender all but one of the church bells.

Edouard de Carteret was one of those who signed the Discipline  Ecclesiastique, which imposed the Calvinistic systems on the Island; and Claude Parent, who followed him, was a Frenchman who had been a Huguenot Pastor at Bayeux. Their respective reigns were De Carteret 1572-1576; Parent 1577-1580. Under them St. Lawrence was transformed into a Huguenot temple.

The stone altars were broken down, and four times a year a long narrow wooden Communion table was set in front of the pulpit, where people stood all round for Communion.

The chancel was filled with pews facing the pulpit. The stained glass windows were smashed. The old wall paintings were blotted out with whitewash. This was done so thoroughly that, whereas in most Jersey Churches stone corbels show were images once stood, in St. Lawrence even the corbels have disappeared. The Calvinist regime lasted till 1623. The Dean Bandinel enforced for a time the reluctant use of the Prayer Book, but under Cromwell the old Hugeunot service was resumed. The French Prayer Book was finally restored in 1660 when the King regained his throne.

St. Lawrence was the last church in the Island to see its great restoration, for three hundred years few changes were made to the internal arrangements. Those who remembered it as it was before 1890 knew what it looked like in the days of Charles II.

The following are scenes from the life of St. Lawrence

The beautiful East Window showing the Last Supper has a peculiar object on the table.

More of the fine Glass on display in St. Lawrences.