14 November 2008

Not so Maudlin

A splendid evening, thanks to a kind friend whose college it is, at the Magdalen Guest Night. Not even the splendours of food and of company could entirely distract me from the linenfold panelling which, apart from some plaques inset coimmemorating the life of S M M, is plausibly reputed to have come from Reading Abbey at its dissolution. By coincidence, today is the Memoria of the the last Abbot, Blessed Hugh Cook of Farringdon, and his martyred brethren.

It is an interesting college; in the 1630s, when elsewhere Puritan iconoclasts were smashing the Saints out of the windows, Magdalen inserted a brand new set of them, a baroque equivalent of the windows at New College and All Souls in what Professor Nikolaus 'Bauhaus' Pevsner described as the'dry repetitive logic of English perpendicular gothic'. And a generation later that enlightened monarch James II installed a Roman Catholic President - to whom a memorial has recently been placed in the chapel.

God willing, next Monday I will be back there for the Requiem to be offered on behalf of the last Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Pole, who (together with his queen) died 450 years ago - our last primate to have been in peace and communion with the See of Peter.Quod Deus vortat in bonum.


Fr Andrew Petiprin said...

A glorious place - my old college.

Christopher Mott said...


I'm sure you know that the shrine of Bd John Eynon, one of the three Reading Martyrs executed in 1539, is at S. Giles-in-Reading, where he was in earlier times Vicar.

S. Giles is transferring the Feast (in the Reading Deanery, though for you a Memoria) to Sunday when more of the parish faithful will be present.

You may also know why the commemoration is on the 15th November in the Roman Calendar, whereas we have always used the 14th.

johnf said...

I was at Glastonbury on Saturday, to attend Mass in honour of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury and his companions all hanged on Glastonbury Tor on 15 Nov 1539.

The Mass took place in the crypt of the Lady Chapel, open to the sky after the depredations of Thomas Cromwell's henchmen.

In the Abbey shop, I picked up a little booklet by Francis Aiden Gasquet describing Abbot Richard's life and martyrdom, and also that of of Abbot Hugh Cook or Farringdon of Reading Abbey who was martyred on the same day , and Abbot Thomas Marshall of Colchester, who met a similar fate 2 weeks later on 1st December.