Dorset Historic Churches Trust
New Venture for Friends of Dorset Churches
The Dorset Historic Churches Trust has recently embarked upon a new venture, designed to keep alive interest in the wonderful church buildings of the county through the long winter months.
The Friends organisation’s popular church crawls have run through many recent summers and members felt the lack of them in the cold, wet days of the new year. To keep the flame of interest burning, over 50 enthusiasts assembled at the Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, last week to hear a lecture by a trustee of the organisation Dr Tim Connor, the noted art historian, on the Church Monuments of Dorset.
Dr Connor’s talk ranged widely though the churches of Dorset from Silton in the north to Chideock in the west, considering aspects of the architecture, sculpture, heraldry and inscriptions of monuments, as well as the different purposes of the memorials and the feelings they were constructed to express.
Speaking with characteristic humour as well as authority, Dr Connor used many photographs of Dorset churches to help make a wide range of challenging and thought-provoking observations which were founded in his deep knowledge of the county’s churches. His manner also contributed to the friendly good fellowship of the meeting, which was encouraged by an excellent lunch presented by the staff at the Langton Arms, whose function room provided an ideal and central venue for this inaugural event.
Dr Connor had been introduced by the Chairman of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, Simon Pomeroy, who gave a brief review of the major fund-raising effort, the annual Ride +Stride sponsored event, which last year gathered a remarkable £80,000. This great achievement means that the Trust will be able to make grants for church restoration projects to a total of £100,000 during 2017.
Following the success of this lecture and lunch, the next event is planned for 23rd March, again in Tarrant Monkton, when the church crawl organiser, Sue Smith, will give a talk entitled Illuminating the Art of Stained Glass. For further details and contact information, go to the DHCT website (www.dhct.org.uk ) and follow links to the Friends’pages.
Friends of Dorset Historic Churches Trust Second Winter Lecture
Illuminating the Art of Stained Glass by Sue Smith
A gathering of the Friends of Dorset Churches, including a number of new members, met at the Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, on 23rd March to hear an insightful lecture on stained glass by Sue Smith, the noted lecturer on this subject.
This was the second lecture, accompanied by an excellent lunch, in a short winter series which is designed to maintain the activities of the Friends of Dorset Churches through the colder months. The aim is, of course, also to provide the opportunity for a social gathering for members, though the beautifully illustrated talk contained plenty to develop the members’ interest in architectural history.
Sue Smith spoke of the history of stained glass in Europe, starting from the earliest surviving examples at St Paul’s church, Jarrow, right through to some of the most modern examples in Dorset – especially the work of Tom Denny. She explained that the Reformation and the English Civil War had seen the destruction of much early glass, but that there had been a major resurgence of these skills in the 18th and 19th centuries, which continues to the present day.
It was also particularly interesting to learn about the creative process of making stained glass windows, from the initial idea known as a videmus, via a life-sized cartoon to the finished item. Members also learned about the chemicals needed to create different colours, the techniques of painting detail onto the glass and how it is all held together with lead “came”.
Sue Smith also spoke of the imagery employed in window design, illustrating her explanations with photos of windows all over the county, such as those in Bradford Peverell, Christchurch and Melbury Bubb.
Members were most appreciative of Sue Smith’s expertise. Chairman of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, Simon Pomeroy, thanked her for holding the audience in close attention for over an hour and welcomed the arrival of a splendid lunch catered by the team at the Langton Arms.
To find out more about the DHCT summer programme of ‘Church Crawls’, see www.dhct.org.uk