01 June 2009

On this fine Monday morning...

...a news round-up following the half term hiatus:

The Missa Cantata on Sunday 24th of May at OLOC was a very prayerful and joyful occasion. Fr Hurley celebrated, and the choir from St Thomas More, Seaford were in great voice. The weather was just beautiful. Thanks to Father and the choir.

It being half term, and eventually sunny (gasp!), in between trying to get the garden sorted and other exciting domestic stuff we did a few trips out. One was to Scotney Castle, followed by a visit to Bayham Abbey.

I like Scotney. Not because it's so picturesque it almost hurts and certainly not because of the rhododendrons, which I am no fan of, but because it's got a Priest Hole. I'm a great fan of the Priest Hole. Not least because, being claustrophobic in even large lifts, I stand in awe of anyone who could squeeze themself into a coffin sized space and sit there for goodness knows how long in possible anticipation of an horrific death. It boggles my mind, and I am profoundly grateful to the martyrs and survivors. Which reminds me, I must read Come Rack! Come Rope! again soon. I particularly like Scotney, because Father Richard Blount who was based there, was one of the survivors. A story of Fr Blount can be found here, but I particularly like this bit:

"One Christmas night towards the close of Elizabeth's reign the castle was seized by a party of priest-hunters, who, with their usual mode of procedure, locked up the members of the family securely before starting on their operations...When all was at rest, Father Blount and his man, not caring to risk another day's hunting, cautiously crept forth bare-footed, and after managing to scale some high walls, dropt into the moat and swam across. And it was as well for them that they decided to quit their hiding-hole, for next morning it was discovered."

Fr Mildew also has the story of Scotney Castle here.

As I generally get more than a bit peevish at the thought of the Dissolution, going to the Norbertine Bayham Abbey brought up all the usual feelings ruined religious houses do for me. Standing in front of the site of the High Altar and saying a few prayers made me feel a bit better, but it was very poignant.

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