Visit to St Bartholomew the Great
Tuesday 17th November 2015
The first event of my year was a visit to the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, followed by supper in the Cloister. The Grade-1 listed church is itself fascinating and it contains many treasures, including Damien Hirst’s gilded statue Exquisite Pain: The Martyrdom of St Bartholomew. My tour focussed on some of the less well-known aspects and we discussed Prior Bolton, the great builder, John Deane, the first Rector, Strensham Master and the Spanish admiral, the strange history of the Vanderplanks, John Anthony, physician and alchemist, and the curiously unexpected death of Newell Eddius Wallbank.
Clergyman, historian, raconteur and Master, Dr Martin Dudley CC led club members in a fascinating tour of The Priory Church of St Batholomew the Great, an amazing building which looked most dramatic at night. Formerly an Augustinian priory adjoining St Bartholomew's Hospital and founded in 1123 about half of the church was ransacked during the Dissolution of the Monasteries before being demolished in 1543. The nave and crossing survive largely in tact from the Norman and later Middle Ages.
We heard about the many historical and architectural features of the church, its role and use in the community of old including The Cloth Fair and the many bodies beneath the floor as well as amusing anecdotes about people who had passed through its portals! Members noted a beautiful icon bought by the church in memory of Michael Moss, a stalwart of St. Bartholmew the Great and a member of our club. Club members Judith and David Parsons, who came to the evening, were married at the church and feature in the book of weddings which have taken place there! Our evening ended in the magnificent cloister with a two course supper, (served by two common councillors!) with plenty of wine and ghostly stories! The vote of thanks was given by Past Master Bob Chandler.
Thank you Master for a most interesting evening.
A few photos are provided below (taken by David Parsons) - click on an image to expand.