After a fascinating session of storytelling from Joanna Bogle, we ventured out, in her words, for "a romp around London". We first discussed a little history of St Patrick's Church, the parish we are based at. In 1940, during a bomb raid, a bomb became lodged in the floor, but miraculously did not explode. This church was founded by Irish immigrants while Catholicism was still outlawed in England.
Our first stop was not far from our St Patrick's. St Giles-in-the-Fields is an Anglican church, which was once a hospital for lepers while it was Catholic before the reformation. We then walked past Lincoln Inn Fields which is now a large square, but once fields in which Catholics were martyred for their faith after King Henry XIII had outlawed Catholicism.
The Ship Tavern, from 1549, which has a nice amount of character, was a place where Mass was held in secret while Catholicism was illegal. Embassy chapels were a place that Mass could be celebrated legally as technically each London embassy was not a part of England, but of the country it represented.
We popped into St Anselm and St Cecilia's Church at Lincoln's Inn Fields, a place of beautiful peace. Another lovely church, St Brides, is the three tiered church that inspired the classic wedding cake design.
Our last sight was the ornate Anglican cathedral of St Paul's, which as many churches were, was Catholic before Henry XIII named himself head of a new church. Because of this, much of the art of Catholic churches was stripped.
The afternoon ended on a delightful and refreshing note of three pots of tea and carrot cake at a tea shop across from the cathedral, by the Thames. Here is to a year of exploring history and faith with hundreds of cups of tea to come!
|With Joanna outside St Paul's|