The gracious archivist of Sandford Church (see yesterday's post) tells me that she has discovered, in a mouldering chest, a Prayer Book and a Bible inscribed by Fr Faber as given to the church while he was serving there; and that their stone altar, very like that at nearby Littlemore, is conjecturally ascribed to Faber.
This puts me in mind of Chapter 2 of Loss and Gain, Newman's novel of Tractarian life in Oxford. Here Bateman, a young Ritualist clergyman, proudly shares his pride in the renovation of a country church near Oxford ... which is in the very latest Ritualist style (even though he does not anticipate it having an actual congregation). 'It was as pretty a building as Bateman had led them to expect, and very prettily done up too. There was a stone altar in the best style ...'. ''We offer our Mass every Sunday, according to the rite of the English Cyprian, as honest Peter Heylin calls him; what would you have more?'' explains Bateman; an explanation which mystifies his hearers all the more. Not that I am suggesting that Loss and Gain is directly satirising Faber; the details do not fit and, in any case, it is not that sort of book. Its relevance is in the accuracy with which it describes the fashion of a particular moment.
Mind you, if Fr Faber did put that stone altar into Sandford church in 1839, it would have been one of the earliest to enter an Anglican church after the 'Reformation'.
PS Those interested in the historical details about Our Lady of Sandford should look at Professor Tighe's exciting comment attached to my previous blog on the subject. The standard Art History reference to the statue is in a 2003 number of Apollo, which has not caught the Recusant side of things.