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Monday, 28 September 2015

The Church Of Our Lady And Saint Thomas Of Canterbury, Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk. Altar Screen (Reredos) By Sir Ninian Comper.

Text and Illustration from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Reredos (Altar Screen),

Church of Our Lady and Saint Thomas of Canterbury,
Wymondham Abbey,
Norfolk, England.
With Tester (above) and Rood Figures (above the Tester),
designed by Sir Ninian Comper, 1922.
Date: 1922 (object created);
27 February 2007 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
Transferred to Commons using CommonsHelper.
Author: Sir Ninian Comper (creator of the object);
Photographer and Original Uploader: Richard Barton-Wood.
Attribution: Richard Barton-Wood.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Wymondham Abbey (pronounced Windham) is the Anglican Parish Church for the Town of Wymondham, in Norfolk, England. The Church is Dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Today, the Abbey serves as the Parish Church of Wymondham, but it started life as a Benedictine Priory.

The Monastery was Founded, in 1107, by William d'Aubigny, Chief Butler to King Henry I. William was a prominent Norfolk landowner, with Estates in Wymondham and nearby New Buckenham. The d'Albini (or d'Aubigny) family originated from Saint Martin d'Aubigny, in Normandy. Later, the Founder's son, William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, in 1174, Founded Becket's Chapel, close by in the town, to be served by two Monks from the Priory.

William d'Albini's Monastery was a dependency of the Benedictine Monastery at Saint Alban's, where his uncle, Richard, was Abbot. Wymondham Priory was relatively small, initially for some twelve Benedictine Monks, but grew in influence and wealth over the coming Centuries. Disputes between the Wymondham Monks and Saint Alban's Monks were quite common, and, in 1448, following a successful Petition to the King, the Pope granted Wymondham the Right to become an Abbey in its own Right. A notable Abbot was Thomas Walsingham.

Wymondham Abbey Hatchment,
now hung in The Ringing Tower.
Date: April 2007.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Monastery Church was completed by about 1130, and, originally, was Dedicated to The Virgin Mary. Later, following the murder of Saint Thomas Becket in 1170, Becket's name was added to the Dedication. A modern icon Panel, by the late Rev. David Hunter, is on display in the Church and tells the story of Thomas's life in pictures.

In 1174, the Founder's son, also called William d'Aubigny, established a Chapel in the Town, dedicated to Becket, and served by two Monks from the Priory. The Church was originally Cruciform in shape, with a Central Tower and Twin West Towers. When it was built, stone, from Caen, in Normandy, was shipped specially across the English Channel to face the walls.

The Central Tower was rebuilt, in about 1376, with a tall Octagonal Tower (now ruined), which held the Monks' Bells. In 1447, work on a much taller, single West Tower, began. This replaced the original Norman Towers and held the Townspeople's Bells.

View of the South Side of Wymondham Abbey,
from across the River Tiffey,
clearly showing the ruined Octagonal Tower
and the newer Square Tower.
Photo:23 September 2006 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
Transferred to Commons by User:Oxyman using CommonsHelper.
Author: Original uploader was Etm157 at en.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

From the start, the Church had been divided between Monks' and Townspeople's areas, with the Nave and North Aisle serving as Parish Church for the Town (as it still is). This, too, was, from time to time, the cause of disputes which occasionally erupted into lawlessness, though the Vicar of Wymondham was appointed by the Abbot.

King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries brought about the closure of Wymondham Abbey, which was surrendered to the King in 1538. The Monks had, apparently willingly, already signed the Oath of Supremacy, and were given generous pensions - Elisha Ferrers, the last Abbot, became Vicar of Wymondham (the fine 16th-Century Sedilia, on the South Side of the Chancel, is said to be his Memorial).

The years following the Dissolution, saw the gradual demolition of the Monastic buildings for re-use of the stone. The Eastern End of the Church (blocked off from the Nave by a solid wall since about 1385) was destroyed, leaving the present Church (at 70 m.) only about half its original length. Repairs to the Church were carried out following Queen Elizabeth I's visit in 1573 (date and initials may be seen on Exterior stonework).

Becket's Chapel,
near Wymondham Abbey,
Norfolk, England.
This File: 24 January 2008.
User: Jaspe.
Author: Bartonwood at the English Wikipedia project.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Notable features of the Church are the Twin Towers (a landmark for miles around), the Norman Nave, the splendid 15th-Century Angel Roof in the Nave and fine North Aisle Roof. The Church is also remarkable for its high-quality fittings, such as the 1783 Organ, by James Davis, and 1810 Chamber Organ (also by James Davis) and the splendid Gilded Reredos (or Altar Screen), one of the largest works of Sir Ninian Comper.

This was Dedicated in 1921, as a War Memorial, though the Gilding was not finished until 1934. Note, also, the Early-Tudor terracotta Sedilia (see above), the Georgian Candelabrum and Royal Arms of George II, the Carved Mediaeval Font, with modern Gilded Font Cover, and many smaller features, such as Angels, Musicians and figures, Carved on the Roof Timbers and Corbels. The West Tower houses a Peal of ten Bells, re-cast and re-hung in 1967. Hung in The Bell Tower, are six well-preserved 18th-Century Hatchments.

[Editor: A Funerary Hatchment is a depiction, within a Black Lozenge-Shaped Frame, generally on a Black (Sable) background, of a deceased's Heraldic Achievement, that is to say, the Escutcheon showing the Arms, together with the Crest and Supporters of his Family or Person. Regimental Colours, and other Military or Naval Emblems, are sometimes placed behind the Arms of Military or Naval Officers.

Such Funerary Hatchments, generally therefore restricted in use to Members of the Nobility or Armigerous Gentry, used to be hung on the wall of a deceased person's house, and was later transferred to the Parish Church, often within the Family Chapel, therein, which appertained to the Manor House, the family occupying which, generally being Lord of the Manor, held the Advowson (or Patronage) of the Church. In Germany, the approximate equivalent is a Totenschild, literally "Death Shield".]

Wymondham Abbey Nave.
(Note The Rood, above The Tester).
Photo: Richard Barton-Wood.
Date: 4 April 2007 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
transferred to Commons by
Author: Original uploader was Bartonwood
(Wikimedia Commons)



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