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Traditional Christianity

2 October 2012

What medieval English and Welsh parish churches used to look like.

St Teilo’s Church in Wales

If you visit churches in Britain today, especially those built before 1500, you may not realise that their interior appearance owes much to the vandalism of the Puritan iconoclasts.

St Teilo’s Church in Wales is actually a museum reconstruction of what such churches probably looked like.

Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 October 2012 10:11 am

    Why does Hans Christian Andersen spring to mind when I see something like that!

  2. 2 October 2012 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the link and mention. I think the iconoclasm was earlier, starting haphazardly and only a little (pruning devotions to the saints) under Henry VIII depending on how much he needed the continental Protestants’ support, advancing greatly under Edward VI (taking down the altars for example), and largely resuming under Elizabeth I. The Puritans finished the job.

    Christopher Haigh wrote that the English in 1600 were finally forced into the new church but treated it with the same reverence they did the Catholic Church in 1500 (he calls them ‘parish anglicans’; only the rich could afford recusancy to stay Catholic, paying fines etc.; extreme Protestants such as the Puritans were a minority); the Puritans snuffed that out, paving the way, ironically, for the loss of faith at the ‘Enlightenment’, producing the ‘spiritual but not religious’ (used to be mainline Protestants) Northern Americans (Southern Americans are conservative Baptists and Pentecostals) and completely irreligious British today. The elite lost their faith about 150 years before most others; deists founded the independent United States. The Industrial Revolution further secularized the British.

  3. Tomasz permalink
    3 October 2012 12:07 pm

    If England would of remained Catholic – those churches would of also had been wreckovated. They would of been gutted and turned into Baroque or Roccoco basilicas in the 1600’s or 1700’s. Then in the 1800’s they would of been turned into neoclassical faux-Roman temples. The only thing from that would remain for the mediaeval era would be the churches’ walls. Nothing would remain of the mediaeval structure outside of the rood screen and ancient liturgical books in the dark and damp church basement. Why they kept the rood screens for so many hundreds of years is beyond me…

  4. Rev. James E. Townsend, Lutheran minister, retired permalink
    3 October 2012 11:23 pm

    Tomasz: You mean would “have,” not “of.” JET

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