Saturday, 6 October 2007

St Augustines Tonge Moor.

St Colomba.
Saint Aidan.
The Old Convent.
'Back to Baroque' bench and Paschal Candlestick.
Our Lady.
Station of the Cross.
The Sacred Heart.

High Altar.
The reordered Reredos.
The Altar.
Side Altar built as a war memorial.

The Church from the main road.
Our Lady being carried back in.
Our Lady in the Lady Chapel.
Our Lady of Walsingham.

At some stage in the history of the Anglo-Catholic revival, architects and patrons became tired of Gothic architecture and fittings and a movement began called 'Back to Baroque', which, encouraged by Priests fresh from holidays in Austria, Germany and Italy, sought to bring a Baroque revival to the Anglican Communion. It's most famous confection is St Marys Bourne Street, just off Sloane Square in London, but St Augustines Tonge Moor, in Bolton, called the 'Venice of the North', is also a very fine model. I went today to the Walsingham Festival with a few hundred other people , which commemmorated sixty unbroken years of Parish Pilgrimage to the Shrine and had, as always, a very nice time. Another interesting feature of the Church is the Nave Altar. It is typical in the way in which it has been removed from the High Altar and moved forward, leaving the High Altar as a reredos containing the Tabernacle, which is not in itself a bad thing and it is certainly well done. However, this was done some time before Vatican II and the subsequent fallout. It was inspired by the work of Dom Gregory Dix, Man of God and author of The Shape Of The Liturgy, the seminal book which inspired the (originally monastic) Liturgical Movement. This Anglican Benedictine was frequently cited as one of the inspirers of the reform of the Liturgy throughout the Western Church and the fact that such work can be done beautifully is demonstrated here, in St Augustines.

At one time, there were nuns attached to this Parish and the Mission Church of St Aidan was built, largely thanks to their fundraising efforts, which still, like this parish, thrives. I hope you enjoy the pictures of this Church and its furnishings, particularly the beautiful station from the stations of the cross.
O gracious Lady, glory of Jerusalem,
Cypresse of Syon and Joye of Israel,
Rose of Jericho and Star of Bethlehem,
O glorious Lady, our asking not repel,
In mercy all wymen ever thou dost excel,
Therefore, blessed Lady,
grant thou thy great grace
To all that the devoutly visit in this place.
(James Lark, 16th Century).