Sunday, 25 April 2010

Barton Turf Church - Thoughful, welcoming touches...

Please click on images in order to enlarge

The church of St Michaels and All Angels at Barton Turf  is the most welcoming church I have ever visited. Even as you approach the main door, you are greeted with a thoughtful personal touch (please note, the hand does not feature on every visit) ...




Upon entering your eye - or 'eyes', if you are fortunate enough to have two! - will be drawn to the exquisite Rood-Screen...


The Heavenly Hierarchy 


In my opinion, the paintings here are the finest medieval paintings of the Heavenly Hierarchy which have survived in England. What we see here is the result of painstaking and expert restoration/conservation work which was undertaken, in phases, from the 1950s through to the 1980s. In particular, we are indebted to the conservator, Miss Pauline Plummer, for her expert work here (and, similarly, on the Despenser Reredos in Norwich Cathedral)


Saint Apollonia holding a tooth in a pair of pincers... 


However, in addition to the inherent treasures within and without, the church is made to come come alive to visitors by the quality of the interpretation and facilities which are offered. 


For instance, as well as modern toilet facilities, you are invited to make yourself a hot drink...




The leaflet is also the best that I have seen in a church. It features a numbered floor-plan which locates the 'stories' featured in the text. 


Floorplan provides orientation. Pastel colour paper, excellent
for visual access. 'Hand-written' font gives an informal feel. 




Instead of presenting the church as a sequence of architectural features, it relates the story of the church and its development through time through stories of people (see above - click on image to enlarge). 


Medieval Daisywheel


This is a great way to help people to relate to the space. The human story of the church is told and human touches are everywhere...








Barton Turf church is just such a wonderful place to visit. I commend all those who have put so much thought and effort into opening it up into such a welcoming space. 


As I left on that extraordinarily beautiful April morning, I took one last photograph; a view of the verdant fields and azure skies beyond the church's lychgate...




There is poetry in these spaces!

~ Munro Tweeder-Harris, Esq. ~ 
April 23rd, 2010




Addendum:
Barton Turf church has its own webshop. If you are making online purchases, go through this, and at no additional expense to you, money will be raised for the church. Click here

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