Saturday, 3 December 2016

Hope in Worcester


Again we are lucky enough to be in Worcester with good friends.

I came across this deserted warehouse, a confection of red and blue brickwork and broken windows. The building rubs shoulders with ASDA and Poundland in the St Martin's Quarter . After I had made this drawing, I got into a conversation with a photographer who was taking photos of the same building, with its bright white PVC banner proclaiming HOPE. 
It appears the building now houses a Church who meet in the building.

Planning permission was granted in June for HOPE Church to convert the former Granary in St Martin’s Quarter into a church, community centre and cafe.
Built in 1870 the derelict building, which has lay empty for years, is set to be given a new lease of life in order to provide a space that ‘serves the city’.

Richard Thomas from the HOPE Church, told the Worcester Observer:

“We want to think about what it can do for the city and we have started to explore that concept, for example, the space can be used by businesses, the art community, social services or the NHS, it is not just a church.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Wonder of Watford

The Rood Beam floats above us

Perhaps, if we had not had a Reformation, then we might have more Watford. Specifically, churches with magnificent interiors like The Church of the Holy Rood in Watford.

Even in the late 19th and the early part of the 20th century the Church of Rome was commissioning beautiful works. The Church of the Holy Rood is an excellent example.

Holy Rood was designed by Westminster Cathedral architect J. F. Bentley. It is compact, made from local materials and full of late Victorian furnishings, art. The nave is relatively plain; the chancel and side chapels are a torrent of decoration and colour. Topping it all, a rood beam that floats above us, with Christ and the two Marys, full of grace and confidence.

A full history of the church is here

Sandwiched between tower blocks and interesting shops, the bonus ball for our Holy Rood visit was discovering a delightful Lebanese restaurant a minute away down Market Street called Tarboush. Both establishments worth are a visit to refresh body and spirit.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Worcester Cathedral - full of sauce!

The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin loiters by the River Severn.

George Gilbert Scott has been here too: Worcester was extensively restored from 1857 to 1874. The Victorians loved a clear view throughout a church; consequently 17th century screens and panelling were removed from Worcester’s Choir and organ casing in 1864.

The Normans started work on this masterpiece in 1089 and what survives today is the largest Norman crypt in England. The Norman work was completed by 1170. King John was buried here in 1216, and soon afterwards rebuilding in the Early English style began, starting at the east end and moving west (Decorated). The Black Death 1348 - 1350 put a break on things. Work resumed (Perpendicular) in parts of the Nave.

Extract from my new book, English Cathedrals. Capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. Order via


Monday, 28 November 2016

Winchester - the long one

Back to muscular Romanesque! Here I was, gazing up at the north transept with its massive triple-decker tiering.

Winchester is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Swithun. St Swithun’s shrine was moved around the church to several locations. Sadly it was destroyed during the Reformation.

The Normans got to work only four years after their victory at Hastings. When they finished on the nave it was the longest cathedral in England. While in its current form it is shorter in length, but an outstanding sweep of Perpendicular, and at 556 feet it is still the longest.

Extract from my new book, English Cathedrals. Capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. Order via


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Wells Cathedral - Wooooah!

The west front stopped us in our tracks with its extravagant sculptured fa├žade and confusion of niches. Once inside I had to make a drawing of the great scissor arches at the crossing. I have seen nothing like these before or since. The diocese (Bath and Wells) was created in 1244 so the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew was perhaps the first English Gothic cathedral.

Much of Wells is in the Decorated style, and contrasts from most other English medieval cathedrals, which have parts in the earlier beefy Norman style. However in the south transept is the Saxon font from the earlier church of 705. The north transept gives admission to an exquisite chapter house. This is a perfect example of the Decorated style, there are delicate ball-flower decorations surrounding each window arch, and vault bosses with beautiful leaf designs.

Extract from my new book, English Cathedrals. Capturing the wonder of these very special places in 60 exciting drawings. Order via