Friday, February 24, 2012


Thirteen years ago, our church suffered a very serious fire. This is what it looked like inside. The picture is taken from the pew where our family sat, though there's no seating there now. It happened during the evening and no one was hurt, luckily.
This is what the roof looked like.
It took three years to restore the church, but recently we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the restoration.
The twelve pillars survived pretty well. They've fascinated me since I was a child because the capitals at the tops of the pillars are all decorated with different leaves and, in some cases, flowers and fruits. I've always wondered who carved them. They're very naturalistic - for example, in the picture above, the carvings depict brambles - what you might call blackberries, maybe?
But these puzzle me. Both flowers and leaves look perfectly familiar - but can anyone think what they are? The flowers look quite like nasturtiums or maybe convolvulus but the leaves are wrong. However, in some of the capitals, there are non-matching flowers and leaves - for example rose flowers (and some rose leaves) together with acanthus leaves - so something similar might be happening here.
The brightly-coloured windows, by the way, replace the original gable-end windows which remained after the fire but were badly cracked and had to be removed. Opinions vary about the new windows. I like the colours but don't like the abstract designs in our Victorian church.


  1. I remember going there for primary school services, I must have been away at university when the fire happened. It must have been very upsetting.

    The mystery flowers look like morning glories, but morning glory leaves are more of an exaggerated teardrop shape.

  2. Oh, how terribly sad Isabelle! Those columns are beautiful. I agree with you -- I don't think I'd like modern windows in that older setting. Whenever we'd visit cathedrals in Europe, I always found it a bit jarring to see more modern alters, lighting fixtures, etc. And some cathedrals just have an odd mix.

  3. Sad about your church, hate abstract anything and would definitely find it jarring in a church. Maybe they figured that religious pictures might offend someone. LOL
    Can't help you on the flowers, I wouldn't be able to identify them in real life let alone carved in stone.

  4. Very sad. Made me think of all the beautiful old buildings that have been destroyed (or nearly so) during wars. Don't know what the carved flowers are; could be what we call in the craft world 'generic' - just a floral design of no particular flower.
    I cringe when I see modern stuff like abstract art put into a traditional or classic setting. Stained glass windows in churches should show simply what they are meant to represent - scenes from Biblical stories or similar.

  5. 1. Sad about the fire, of course, but I love that photo of the roof gone, with the windows behind... beautiful!

    2. The leaves look like ivy, the flowers look like morning glories.

    3. I agree - nice colors, but too modern a design for a Victorian church. Didn't they let the congregation have a vote before purchase? Seems odd...