Members' Events - 2010
A perfect summer’s day gave members and friends an opportunity to see the Isle of Wight at its very best. The whole outing was impeccably organised by Paul Tizzard and Archdeacon Adrian Harbidge. Accompanied by the Chairman, Lady Appleyard, and the Dean of Winchester, The Very Revd James Atwell, the party crossed by hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde.
St Michael and All Angels, Swanmore
We were welcomed by Keith, who is wanting to go into ministry, who told us that the church was a Victorian replacement of a much earlier one, built in the style of French churches. The liturgy is very high church, Anglo Catholic, as we could see in the ornate decorations which included the ceiling in the Mary Chapel, the elaborate 14 stations of the cross in the nave and the coloured statues on the altar rail and around the pulpit. There are four bells and incense is used every Sunday. The two Eastern Orthodox icons were originally in an Armenian church.
The foundation stone was laid in 1861 and the church was consecrated by Bishop Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester. (The Isle of Wight was at that time in the Winchester Diocese, the Portsmouth Diocese being formed in 1927.) All the stained glass in the windows is post-war, the original glass having been destroyed by bombing.
For further information please read the following document St Michael and All Angels
St Catherine's, Ventnor
Our next venue, St. Catherine’s, Ventnor was idyllically situated, with views to the sea. The Revd Graham Morris, Vicar and Area Dean, described with great enthusiasm and humour how he had tackled 30 years of neglect to bring the church to its present beautiful state. Our timing was good, scaffolding having been taken down the day before our visit and shortly to be reinstated! The eastern end of the church has retained its Victorian style, with the pulpit wonderfully linking the old and the new. The balcony at the west end has been made safe, the woodworm in the floor eradicated and a superb wooden floor put down. Very comfortable chairs have replaced the pews, as it was unthinkable to drill holes in the floor to fasten them. The entrance to the church has been greatly improved – a “coffin or a bride” can now be accommodated satisfactorily!
Concerts and other events can now take place, but the church has kept a “praying presence” in the spirit of Kairos – bringing the church into the community and the community into the church.
English Heritage and the Historic Churches Trust has made it all possible. However, there is still work to be done. The outside stonework is crumbling, as is the stonework on many of the 65 Victorian churches on the Isle of Wight.
For further information please read the following document: St Catherine
Having phoned through our menu choices in advance, lunch at the Buddle Arms at Niton was all ready for us when we arrived and no time was wasted.
Quarr Abbey, near Binstead
After lunch an unforeseen traffic diversion caused us to miss the service of Nones at Quarr Abbey but instead we were able to enjoy spectacular views from the coach, including The Needles, as our driver skilfully negotiated the narrow lanes and hills of the longer route.
We were welcomed at Quarr Abbey by Father Gregory who took us into the huge chapel and told us something of the history of the monastery. Religious orders had to leave France at the beginning of the 20th century because of persecution and, having outgrown their first refuge at Appuldurcombe House, Wroxall, the present abbey was designed by a monk of the exiled community of Solesmes and completed in 1914. There were 90 monks in the original Benedictine community, and today there are ten.
The buildings are entirely constructed with bricks from Belgium. We were struck by the beauty of the brickwork and the enormity of the buildings. They seemed huge for a community of ten monks, but Father Gregory stressed that they love their home. Describing a monk’s day, he rises at 5.00am and the day is spent praying, working (growing vegetables, farming, cooking, etc.) and reading. “A monk’s reading is reading with the heart.”
As Winchester Cathedral is constructed mainly with stone from the quarry at Quarr, we wanted to see the old abbey ruins, demolished after the dissolution of the monasteries. A short walk took us to the former Quarr Abbey House, built with salvaged stone from the abbey. The ruins lie behind the house in a beautiful setting with views to the sea.
For further information please read the following document: Quarr Abbey
A welcome cup of tea at the Quarr Abbey Tea Rooms and a short drive to the hoverport at Ryde ended a most memorable day.