Saturday 22 December 2018

St James RC Church Reading

You could say this is a trip down memory lane, a pilgrimage to my past. This is a Church I know from my schooldays when I went to the primary school next door, each week we would walk in file from the school to the church for mass. Even though I had been on Sunday I went again in the week as well even if we felt we did not need to go we had to. Since moving on from that school and then on into life I always remembered the school and church when I went. I had visited the church to get some photos and every time I passed I found it locked apart from one occasion when the cleaning lady let me in for a few moments to say a prayer within. The other day I went to Reading on the bus like I did when I went to school back then and after failing to look in a nearby church I went down to the Abbey Ruins then on to St James to be greeted by an open door. I took the time to go in and get some photos of this wonderful old church I remember.
I can tell you the church was started in 1837 and opened in 1840 and has been in regular use since. If you would like to read more on it's history then go it it's own Wikpedia page
There is also a more in depth history on St James Website

St James from the Forbury Gardens. This photo was take many years ago but the outside has changed little , the photo is also used on Wikipedia

St James from near the entrance to the walk past it

When I went to school next door this used to be part of the churchyard with graves in it, the rod you see here was built and too out most of the churchyard, the graves were relocated elsewhere but behind the church you can see most of the headstones

This is the side entrance to the church and way to the rectory, the large lump of stone work you see is part of the original Reading Abbey
Go around to the old prison carpark and you get a view of the apse and the extension which was added to the church

The porch leading into the church has not changed since I used to go through it as a child

Inside you look down a bright and well lit aisle, one thing I noticed was the chairs had been changed, I remember them being very dark, uncomfortable and the kneelers hard

The Altar has moved has forward from when I used to go here, it used to be nearer the arches at the rear 

The Altar covered with purple covering

The central stained Glass window in the apse

The left and right side windows in the apse

Looking back to the choir loft and organ

Above and left the Lady chapel it has some beautiful stained glass in it

at the back you can see more stained glass showing the tree of life

A nearby plaque explaining the dedication of the window

Also in the aisle is a Roll of Honour to those who ost their lives during the second world war and attended St James

The stations of the cross in the Lady Chapel

Looking through the arches you see more stained glass along the nave depicting saints

One side of the lady chapel is a shrine to St James, before I went I siad a prayer and lit a candle

The north aisle dedicated to the Sacred heart
In one corner a shrine to St Xavier

Along the south side are more stained glass windows dedicated to saints & martyrs

This one to Blessed Hugh Faringdon, the last Abbot of the abbey in which ground the church now stands and was martyred in front of the Abbey gates. I went to the school named after him

The two unfortunate monks who were killed along with him

The coat of arms of Hugh Faringdon and which is also the schools emblem. A memorial to the Blount Family who are buried in the church

Thomas Becket

the last one is to St James

A statue of the sacred heart stands next to the font

Which I read somewhere is made using parts of Reading Abbey

Close up of the mural behind the font

From the North aisle you look up at more stained glass windows
A modern take on the Crucifix certainly not what I remember in the church

Sad reminder of our violent past, the grave of Rev Fran├žois Longuet who was murdered along the Oxford road on his way home from teaching in Wallingford

at the back you can see more statues of saints

either side of the stations of the cross
A crucifix hangs over the Church Tabernacle, this used to be on the altar that was nearer the arch you see when I attended mass here

Back outside you can see St James church on the left, the school I went to on the right and a little further to the right is part of the Abbey ruins.. Hard to believe that that 500 years ago the whole area was dominated by a huge Abbey

St James Church a few days ago

With that I will leave you all for this year and Wish you a Merry Christmas and happy & peaceful new year

Saturday 15 December 2018

Crickadarn Chapel

Just across the road from St Mary's church you will find Crickadarn Chapel
(Hebron Independent Chapel)
. The chapel was built in 1854 and rebuilt in 1901 according to the plaque above the door

The chapel is over to the right of the road

First thing you notice is that the cemetery is well kept

This is the East side of the chapel

From the footpath going to the chapel you see some quiet prominent memorials

The cemtery looking East

Beside the path are these headstones

The West side of the chapel with more headstones

These ones are beside the road on the West side
I will leave you this week with this view of the chapel with St Marys church in the background
Until next time may you have a peaceful weekend.