Friday, 18 July 2014

History of St Clement's Church by G.R. Bailleine (Part 2)

Here is part two of the forgotten piece by  G.R. Balleine  on the history of the Church, transcribed below. Balleine had a wonderful grasp of how to make historical narrative interesting, and peppers his history with interesting anecdotes.
History of St Clement's Church by G.R. Bailleine  (Part 2)
The Twentieth Century
After the great Restoration of the 19th century, it would appear that the tendency of the Church Officials was to put up their feet and say "Thank goodness that's over for the next hundred years !"
We are not, however, far from the truth in saying the above, for sixty years after the great Restoration, we read that "the dingy, dampstained walls and ceiling are crying aloud for attention."
In the first half of the century, that little was done is evident. In 1901, a new organ (by Alfred Oldknow) was installed, the money for this having been raised by a bazaar in the grounds of Samares Manor, the sum realised being £351. In 1919, a clock was given. In 1935, plans for a new vestry were turned down
by the Ecclesiastical Court on the grounds that the Church was not large enough to sacrifice any of its pews.
In 1936, Lady Knott, of Samares Manor, offered a carillon of bells, but so many difficulties arose about this that the project was abandoned. In 1953, however, a further offer of a gift by the Lady of Samares, in memory of her second husband, was accepted gratefully.
This took the form of an oak screen, separating the North side of the sanctuary from the ancient North Chapel, thus making a commodious clergy vestry. The screen was given in the memory of Commander Edward Owen Obbard, D.S.C., G.M., R.N., Jurat of the Royal Court, who died on March 10th, 1951. The Dedication Service was performed by the Dean of Jersey on March 10th, 1953, in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor, and a large representative congregation.
The Wall Paintings
St. Clement's Church is justly renowned for its frescoes (or wall-paintings), and inscriptions, which were discovered in the extensive restoration.
1879, by workmen
19th century restor-
South Transept-In the South transept, on the West wall, there survive from the original painting the hind legs of a horse, followed by another of which the fore legs appear. Between the two is the hand of a cavalier, stretching down to a dog, whose head is raised towards his master, who is mounted on the leading horse. The inscription below the fresco reads as follows:
"Helas saincte Marie, et quelle
ces trois mors qui sot cy hideulx
mont fait meplre en gnt tristesse
de les vois ainxi piteulx."
("Alas, St. Mary? Who are,these three corpses that are so grim? It breaks my heart to see them thus piteous").
The legend which this illustrates is known as The Three Living and the Three Dead-an old French poem telling 'how three young princes, while out hunting, see three horrible corpses who gave them a lecture on the perils of worldly success. Several English Churches (notably Charlwood,=Surrey; Battle, Sussex; and Ditchingham, Norfolk), have paintings of this story on their walls, as have also many Normandy Churches.
North Transept-In the North transept, a large mural has been cut in two by the arch which leads into the Eastern portion of the Church. This shows that, at the time the mural was executed (about the 2nd half of the 15th century), this was a solid wall and the chapel behind entirely separate from the Church. All that is left to us is part of St. Margaret with the wing of her conquered dragon and St. Barbara standing by her tower.
The legend of St. Margaret is that she was assailed in prison by the Devil in the shape of a horrible dragon. She made the sign of the Cross on his breast, which split him in two; and allowed her to escape safely- The Crusaders brought over this legend in the 11th century, and it became very popular, since the Dragon was supposed to personify the Saracens.
St. Barbara of Heliopolis in Egypt was beheaded for the Faith in 235 A.D. Legend asserts that she, had been miraculously converted to Christianity.
North Wall of Nave-On the North wall of the Nave is a representation of St. Michael slaying the dragon. The Archangel is in complete armour, but appears to have lost his helmet. He holds in his hand a broken hilt, of which the blade is near the Dragon, which he is stamping under his feet.
The presence of this fresco is said to have been due to a prioress belonging to Mont St. Michel. It is possible that when the French, under Count Maulevrier, obtained by treachery possession of this portion of the Island, for a short time in the 15th century, he way have had the work executed as a sign of victory.
Judging by the lettering these frescoes would date from the second half of the 15th century, though some may be earlier, as the headdresses would seem to belong to the 14th century, and the armour of St. Michael indicates the same period.
Further Gifts
The Nineteen-sixties have seen further gifts to the Church, two of which must be noted here.
A "Treasury" in the form of a glass-fronted cupboard has been built into the wall of the North Transept. This is virtually a handsome showcase for the Church Silver, and contains the ancient chalices and baptismal dishes. The Treasury was erected in memory of the late Mr. V. J.. Bailhache, a lifelong worshipper at St. Clement's Church, and the cost was gratefully borne by his widow, Mrs. Alice Bailhache. her son, Advocate L. V. Bailhache, and her daughter, Mrs. Margaret Evans.
The latest addition to. the Church Plate is a Private Communion Set, consisting of chalice, paten, wafer box and spoon, all in solid silver, the gift of Lady Kavanagh. Presented to the Church in 1962, the. Set was given in memory of Colonel Sir Dermot McMorrough Kavanagh, G. C. V. O.

No comments: