Friday, 27 June 2014

Blackmore: Augustinian Priory

Augustinian Priory

“Historic Custuming” by Nevil Truman Pitman p143 Habit Austin Canons. Black tunic, tight sleeved rochet w[ith] girdle. Black cloak & small hood. Black biretta.

Scenes & Characters of the Middle Ages by Rev. E. L. Cutts p18 Chap. 3 The August’n Orders. Augustinian Order founded c850 A.D. by decree of Leo III & Emperor Lothaire. Suggested rule compiled by Ivo de Chartres from writings of Augustine of Hippo. Augs. divided into
Canons Secular. Clergy of cathedral & collegiate churches who lived in community on monastic model.
Habit: Long black cassock, Surplice (for divine service), Fur tippet (almuce) (for divine service), Black cloak and hood, Leather girdle.

Canons Regular. Enyol de Provins says “among them one is well shod, well clothed & well fed.  Came to England time of Henry I. Eventually 216 houses of that order. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Friends of St Laurence Blackmore Brochure Sold Out

All copies of 'St Laurence Church Blackmore 900th Anniversary' brochure have been sold, the Friends of St Laurence Blackmore reported to its members this week. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Blackmore: The letter 'M'

The Letter M


DONALD W. INSALL, A.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P. I.. 5.P Dip .

44, QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, ST. JAMES'S PARK, S.W. I. TEL. (01) 930. 5858

BCE/DWI/AW. 11th June, 1963.

Dear Mr. Simmons,

Blackmore Church

We have now heard from Mrs. Eve Baker about her recent visit to inspect the traces of wall painting discovered at Blackmore. She reports as follows:-

"I visited this Church in May 1963. At the time of my visit, there were workmen in the church limewashing, leaving untouched the areas where colour had been discovered. However, I feel this is a case where more might have been found had I been asked to inspect before redecoration had begun, as I found traces of detailed painting on the face of the south arcade.

What has come to light are clearly symbols, apart from the first arch where the red paint sometime formed a background for the rood.

All the colour now visible is on the north arcade. The first is on the inner face of the arch on the west side and consists of a cross roughly painted in red with, below it, an M-shape motif. This 'M’ could well be the monograph of the Virgin, even though it must have been painted after the Reformation. The only other thing it could be is the mark of the painter. On the next pier, the motif is repeated with a cross and M-shape very roughly painted on a lime ground. If the M is a painter's mark, this is a very rare thing to find in England although they have been found in Scandinavia. There are plenty of Mason's marks and I know of a plasterer's mark but if this is a painter’ss mark it is the first one I have come across, and I think it is important to keep it.

The cost of cleaning, conserving and dealing with the area in the immediate vicinity of these two paintings would cost about £30-£45. Scaffolding would not be necessary but a tall step-ladder would be needed."

It does seem-a good idea that this interesting and possibly valuable example should be cleaned and conserved; and we would be most interested to receive your instructions whether you would like this done.

We are forwarding Mrs. Baker's account for her visit and may I take it that you would like to clear this one direct? I believe this one was agreed in advance with Mr. Atwell.

I take it, by the way, that a tall step-ladder could be made available?

Yours sincerely
[Signed: Donald Insall]

C. Simmons, Esq.,
Orchard Manor,
Blackmore, Essex

cc. Rev. M. Knott. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Blackmore Church: A History written 1960s

Knott archive
Blackmore History (1960s)


A Priory for Austin canons (Cassock and mantle black - these were clergy of cathedrals and churches who, like the monks, took a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. They were like monks in so far as they lived communally and took religious vows, but they remained essentially parish priests, looking after their parishioners. There were 200 houses in England and there are still some left in Austria).

Founded by Adam and Jordan de Sandford 1152 - local lords. Quite possibly as an easing of conscience after the period of civil war and disorder in Stephen’s reign when the barons "ran riot”.

Norman West bay of nave and the west door inside the belfry - This is original priory. Also cresset stone (for oil lamps in the effigy corner).

Early English (1200-1300) North arcade and north door (usual entrance).

14th C 1300-1400 Chancel and canons window. Font.

15th C 1400-1500 ''Pagoda spire" 28 ft. high.

16th C Repaired piers - south arcade - dormer windows.

Building was more than twice its present size, but all eastern end pulled down for materials to build Smyths Hall where Robert Smyth built his house. The Smyths were mercers and one of them founded the East India Company later on. Together with many rich merchant families, they bought up monastery and priory lands at a cheap price from the King (Henry VIII) who was forced to sell them quickly on a buyers' market in order to pay his debts and stall of his persistent creditors.

The son of Robert Smyth (Thomas Smyth and his wife Margaret) are buried in S.E. corner date = 1594 when Elizabeth getting old.

Notice the Curious animal over the door which led to the cloisters of the Priory.

Connection with Henry VIII 
It seems probable that the legend of Henry VIII has some basis in truth. No doubt the King - in his early days - had a hunting lodge hare and it is possible that his only illegitimate son - he was a strict church-goer and believer and was morally superior to most kings of his time in so far as he did marry the women from whom he desired a legitimate heir - was born here. Henry only had two mistresses, one the sister of Ann Boleyn and the other Elizabeth Blount (pronounced Blunt) who came from an Essex family and who gave birth to this son - named Henry Fitzroy (son of the king). Later when about 6 years of age it seemed likely that he might be the king's heir - he was created Duke of Richmond - but the plan fell through and the boy died in 1536. The present Jericho has nothing to do with Henry and the building was put up about 1720 by a Thomas Arkwright - who got his money by contracts with the Royal Navy.

Tombs and monuments
Simon Lynch d. 1660. “Persecuted by gog and magog” refers to the Cromwellian persecution of the Anglican clergy of Charles I. Simon died just too soon for him to be reinstated by Charles II.

Smyths Hall passed from the Smyth family to London merchants and bankers (some of their monuments are in the church) before it was pulled down over a hundred years ago and its bricks and stones carted away for building materials – a fitting end.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Blackmore: Priory Church of St Laurence. 900th Anniversary Celebrations

A new booklet has just been published by the Friends of St Laurence, Blackmore.  It coincides with the 900th Anniversary Celebrations of the foundation of a church in Blackmore back in 1114.  The full colour 24 page brochure has contributions from three local historians, an artist and photographer. It will be available from this coming weekend price £3.00.

The weekend's celebrations have a medieval flavour, with a Medieval Parade from the Village Green at 11.00am on Saturday 7 June 2014 to begin a Medieval Fayre in the church grounds, which will continue until 4pm. The Essex Police Band will be making an appearance at 2pm.  Then in the evening for ticket holders there will be a Medieval Feast in the church, starting at 7pm.  

A Pentecost and Celebration Service will be held on Sunday (8 June) at 11am, when the preacher will be The Venerable David Lowman, Archdeacon of Chelmsford.  The Service will include the re-dedication of a stained glass panel depicting the martyrdom of St Laurence.  This glass has been restored using funds from the Friends of St Laurence.  There will be a Songs of Praise Service at Horesfayre Green at 6.30pm.

The events begin this Friday, 6 June, with a Family Musical Evening in the church from 6.30 to 8.30pm: music and drama, refreshments, free entry.