Art marks Southwark’s terror anniversary

Alison Clark in the cathedral

During the first weekend in June many in Southwark will be marking the first anniversary of the fatal terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.

Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral were closed for a week during a long and careful search of the area.

A total of eight innocent people died in the one night along with the three attackers.

Australian nurse Kirsty Boden from Guy’s Hospital died outside the cathedral.

Cathedral artist in residence Alison Clark has started work on a piece of art for the anniversary.

The theme is Broken Beauty taken from the Japanese art of Kintsugi where ceramics that have been damaged are repaired with gold.

The specially commissioned work, supported by Southwark Council, incorporates prints on taken from the sacristy door damaged in the attack aftermath together with prints from other parts of the Cathedral that show traces of the past.

Gold will be added to the piece as an echo of Kintsugi.

This installation of heavy cloth is to be hung in the retrochoir by Saturday 2 June and will remain until Thursday 14 June.

Pilgrims setting out from Southwark may see Alison at work this week.

Sacristry’s damaged door

Possible diversion near Denbies

Pilgrims from Winchester approaching Box Hill may find that there is diversion due to travellers having occupied and blocked the National Trust owned Steer’s Field.

Here, where the PW and North Downs Way coincide, the advice is to use the Pilgrims Way as shown on OS map and enter Denbies vineyard via Dorking:

Take the Pilgrims Way track at the bottom of the scarp passing Landbarn Farm, keeping right when the track forks. When the track meets the road keep right on the footpath by the school to pick up the Mole Gap Trail which takes you back to the North Downs Way by the Denbies Vineyard Visitor Centre.”

St George on the Pilgrims’ Way

Processional arch at St George’s Church at Wrotham

Monday 23 April is St George’s Day.

On the Pilgrims’ Way there is the oldest church dedicated to England’s patron saint. This is at Wrotham in Kent where there has been a St George’s Church since about 950.

The present building dates from about 1280.

Thomas Becket would have known the first one as he stayed next door on his last ride back to Canterbury.

Those setting out from London Bridge at Southwark pass the capital’s oldest St George church.

St George the Martyr in Borough High Street has foundations dating from at least 1122. The present above ground building is Georgian.

The London St George church is the focus for the annual St George in Southwark Festival held around St George’s Day.

Translation of St Thomas Becket 2018

A candle marks the site of Thomas Becket’s shrine in the Trinity Chapel

Details of events at Canterbury Cathedral on the Translation of St Thomas Becket, Saturday 7 July, are now available.

The Translation marks the day in 1220 when St Thomas Becket’s body was moved upstairs from the Cathedral crypt to the shrine built in the Trinity Chapel behind the high altar.

Saturday 7 July

11am Medieval Pageant featuring historical characters, mounted warrior , East Kent Giants , local schools and re-enactment groups sets out from the city’s West Gate.

12:30pm  Festal Anglican Communion in the cathedral’s Trinity Chapel.

3:15pm Choral Evensong in cathedral’s Quire.

6:30pm Cathedral Lodge Summer Party Night at The Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.

8pm Roman Catholic Mass in cathedral’s Quire.

Details of the annual St Thomas More lecture at St Dunstan’s Church on Friday evening 6 July have yet to be announced.

St Martin-in-the-Fields: 28th Pilgrimage to Canterbury

Eynsford, where Thomas Becket clashed with the King, is a resting point

Each year a hundred people walk from St Martin-in-the-Fields to Canterbury over four days.

The Pilgrimage along the Pilgrims’ Way is a sponsored event raising thousands of pounds for the work of The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

It begins at the steps of the church in Trafalgar Square and ends in the Canterbury Cathedral cloisters.

There, where St Thomas Becket took his last walk just before death, pilgrims gather in front of the memorial to St Martin’s most famous vicar Dick Sheppard who became Dean of Canterbury.

To join the 28th pilgrimage over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend you must register by 30 April using the special form.

Canterbury Cathedral cloister

Lesnes Abbey stamping Pilgrim Passports

Abbey Good Coffee

From today you can have your Pilgrim Passport stamped at Lesnes Abbey.

The monastery was opened just eight years after Thomas Becket’s murder by his supporter Richard de Lucy who dedicated it to the martyr Archbishop.

Today its ruins remain in a delightful woodland setting famous for its daffodils which are now appearing.

Passports should be presented at the new Abbey Good Coffee refreshment kiosk in the monastic garden.

Open hours during British Summer Time, staring this weekend, are Tue-Sun 10.30am-4pm.

Lesnes Abbey is between Shooters Hill (Red Lion for stamp) and Dartford and is usually reached on the second day of walking from Southwark.

*** Passports are included in a Pilgrim Pack which are available to walkers for £1 when setting out from Southwark Cathedral; ask in the shop where the first stamp is obtained.

View from the outdoor cafe seats
Lesnes Abbey cloister doorway

Daffodils at Lesnes Abbey

Windows at the viewpoint across the capital

Lent Lilies, or daffodils, are out at Lesnes Abbey as the garden and woods recover from the snow.

Pilgrims from Southwark pass through Lesnes Abbey on their way from Shooters Hill to Dartford on Day 2.

The Abbey, now an outline of stones, is dedicated to St Thomas Becket.

Tradition holds that the daffodils are descendants of those planted by the Augustinian monks. Although daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans there is no record of when they first appeared  in the Abbey grounds.

The wood round the Abbey’s south side is also noted for its bluebells which will appear shortly.

The monastic farm site on the west side now has a garden and a cafe counter called Abbey Good Coffee (open Tue-Sun until 4pm in summer).

***Pilgrim parties wishing to book lunch or tea should email: [email protected]

Daffodils on the wooded hill above Lesnes Abbey
Daffodils in the wold
Wednesday’s lunch menu at Lesnes Abbey
Lesnes Abbey garden
Daffodils appearing around the Augustinian monk statue

From Cloud to Washing: Doubt to Suspended

Doubt in Southwark Cathedral

With the hint of warmer weather pilgrims are starting to set out from Southwark Cathedral for Canterbury Cathedral.

Those making the pilgrimage in Lent, that is before the end of this month, will see a huge dark cloud in Southwark Cathedral.

This is the Lent installation by Susie MacMurray which is called Doubt.

It hangs over the choir like a heavy rain cloud.

It could represent your feeling of gloom about the future, about the unknown implications of Brexit or something very personal.

It is there to make you think.

On arriving at Canterbury Cathedral pilgrims will find washing hanging in the nave.

This is another Lenten installation to make us think.

Suspended by Arabella Dorman is comprised of real washing.

The items are refugee clothing retrieved from the Island of Lesbos beaches and the makeshift camps in Calais.

The artist has used special lighting which as it dims is intended to remind the viewer that refugees may be left unseen and in darkness if their situation is forgotten.

Doubt is at Southwark Cathedral until Good Friday but Suspended will remain in Canterbury Cathedral until Wednesday 16 May.

Suspended in Canterbury Cathedral


St Mary Magdalene Wandsworth Common: First parish on pilgrimage

Vicar Philippa Boardman in the cathedral shop where passports were stamped

A group from St Mary Magdalene Church Wandsworth Common set out today from Southwark to Canterbury.

This is the first parish party of the 2018 season. They left London, with their vicar Philippa Boardman, two weeks ahead of Chaucer’s recommended April.

The pilgrims received a blessing at the early morning Eucharist in Southwark Cathedral before having their Pilgrim Passports stamped in the shop.

First stop after passing through Borough Market was The George Inn where a large temporary outdoor TV screen was broadcasting a weather forecast featuring some rain.

The party plan to reach Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday in time for Evensong.

The effort is in aid of funding improvements to their 150 year old church building so that it can be a vibrant focus better serving the community.

Standing on the parish’s own stone in the cathedral
Some of the Wandsworth walkers at The George Inn in Southwark’s Borough High Street

To Canterbury from Winchester and London / Leigh Hatts