Welby in Danger of Losing primus inter pares Role over Same-Sex Blessings


Letter: Bingo’s Ordination?

Letter Bingo’s Ordination? Dear Sir, The Church of England has been ordaining men for centuries, and since the 1990s has had legal authority to ordain women to the priesthood also. According to your recent report, the Revd Bingo Allison declared, "I’m not a man and...

Barnabas Aid Appeal for Democratic Republic of Congo

Barnabas Aid Appeal A bomb explosion ripped through the congregation at a baptismal service last Sunday evening (15 January 2023). Just after the baptisms had been performed, and while a blind pastor was expounding some Bible verses, the improvised explosive device...

Archbishops Differ on Practice if Not on Principle

Archbishops Differ on Practice if not on Principle Archbishop Justin Welby has revealed that he will not bless same-sex relationships, while Archbishop Stephen Cotterell has indicated his intention to do so. Explaining his decision, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

Pilgrim’s Process: Tone, Voice, & Speech

Pilgrim’s Process By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon Many today are concerned about not just the content of what people say in the public arena, but also the way that whatever is spoken, is said. People can get offended as much by tone or manner, as content. The complex and...

Keene’s Review: Confirm, O Lord by Martin Davie

Defend, O Lord Confirmation according to the Book of Common Prayer Martin Davie Latimer Trust, 2022 (ISBN: 9781906327743, 116pp, £6.50) Confirmation is a vital spiritual coming-of-age rite in churches which practice paedobaptism, giving those for whom promises were...

Orthodox Anglican Provinces Invited to Covenant Members of the Fellowship

Orthodox Anglican Provinces Invited to Covenant Members of the Fellowship Global South May Provide Alternative Episcopal Oversight By Paul Eddy The GSFA has recently invited orthodox provinces across the Communion to formally sign up as full Covenant Members of the...

Diocese of Oxford’s “Bloated Bureaucracy” Under Fire

Diocese of Oxford's "Bloated Bureaucracy" Under Fire by Julian Mann The Diocese of Oxford, one of the best endowed in the Church of England, has come under fire for its alleged ‘bloated bureaucracy’ in a letter from a frontline parish treasurer in London’s Daily...

Gist of Bishops’ Pastoral Letter Regarding Same-Sex Blessings

Gist of Bishops’ Pastoral Letter  New Prayers of Love and Faith We value and want to celebrate faithfulness in relationships. That is why we have drafted and asked the House of Bishops to further refine and commend a new resource to be used in churches, called Prayers...

Keene Book Review: Late-Georgian Churches

Late-Georgian Churches

Anglican architecture, patronage and churchgoing in England, 1790-1840

Christopher Webster

John Hudson Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 978-7398229-0-3, 320pp, £80)

During the past hundred years, and especially the past fifty, valiant progress has been made in correcting patronising Victorian views of the eighteenth-century church. Since the work of Dean Sykes, several authors have successfully worked to revise our understanding of its theology, practices, finances, politics, and leadership. As regards church buildings, emigre architectural historian Marcus Whiffen began the revival in his 1947 review of the regions, Stuart and Georgian Churches. Basil Clarke, a long-serving Berkshire vicar, picked up the baton in his 1963 Building of the Eighteenth Century Church, noting with satisfaction that ‘the eighteenth-century churches are [now] treated with respect]’ and pursuing this new enthusiasm into the realm of the logistical background to construction. A more recent landmark was the epic-scale Eighteen Century Church in Britain (2011), a labour of love by Terry Friedman, the ‘scholar-curator’ whose change of domicile took the opposite trajectory to Whiffen’s. 

With renewed appreciation of church building of the long eighteenth century has come fresh focus on its relation to the Victorian era. Contrary to the view that Cambridge’s Ecclesiological movement grew from Oxford’s Tractarian, it is now better understood that both stepped into a philosophical space prepared for them by the late Georgians. Nineteenth-century interest in gothic plans and details clearly pre-dated Pusey, hence why the turn had less of a party flavour than may be imagined. The new book by Webster provides a rich illustration of this phenomenon. Although briefer than Friedman’s opus, it exhibits the same meticulous attention, high quality, and passionate dedication. 

Beginning in 1790, Webster leads us through half a century of church-building, decade by decade, exposing trends and developments as they arose. Interspersed are chapters with topical foci such as the nature of auditory worship and the challenge of seating the congregation (a challenge which we pray might return to all churches!). The book brings to the public the fruits of doctoral study at York University and – no doubt – years of private investigation. The standard of both research and photography is such that this book is a worthy addition to both library and coffee table. In both locations, and beyond, it will serve to correct warped views, which linger on in the public mind, of what a church ‘should’ look like.

Edward Keene, Little Shelford