Here are some photos of a tiny church in Devon. The tour of the church was given to myself and the rest of the class on the Maryvale’s Art Beauty and Inspiration course that was taking place at Buckfast Abbey in Devon. As part of this, we asked Michael Vian Clark, who taught chant to the monks at the abbey, and who is a keen local historian to talk to us about one of the local churches. He is now based in Rome where has has recently begun his studies as a seminarian (for the Diocese of Plymouth). Michael is a keen student of the Sarum Rite and chanted for us in the church (teaching us to accompany him with an organum drone) as he explained how this was the music that would have resonated throughout this church prior to the reformation.
Michael has written a description for NLM readers, which I give below. There are some aspects of this that particularly strike me. When Fr Lang of the London Oratory spoke about church architecture this summer at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, he stressed the importance of thresholds that clearly separate the temple, the place of worship from the outside world. The porch or the cloister, in grander churches, become especially important in this respect in churches that are designed for the Sarum Rite. This rite has many processions that emphasise the earthly pilgrimage from the City of Man to the City of God. This point of pilgrimage by which even in this life we can by degrees be transformed and participate in the divine nature through participation in the sacred liturgy, is a feature of gothic art, which stylistically spans the divide between the shadowy fallen world of the baroque; and the heavenly state of eschatological man as revealed by the icon. As Jean Corbon describes in his book the Wellspring of Worship, by being part of the mystical body of Christ, his Church, we can participate in the transfigured Light.
A book has recently been published that looks at the design of Salisbury Cathedral in the 13th Century, here, relating to the regular processions that took place. We see similar influences even in this little country church and its humble porch. As Michael puts it:: ‘The porch had particular significance in the Ritual of the Use of Sarum, which involved more regular processions outside of the (Read More)