For the first time ever, the Canterbury Gregorian Music Society assembled in the Franciscan International Study Centre and thanks to Helen’s really effective marketing we had an excellent attendance of 29. It was almost standing room only and a testament to the topics and reputation of our speakers.
Passing quickly through the AGM in which Helen’s comprehensive report of 2010 activities, Jonathan’s financial report were distributed and continuation of officers confirmed, we passed to the main event our first non-singing study morning on Early Church Architecture.
Dr. Helen Gittos gave us a lively account of how churches evolved in the Saxon period and how they reflected the liturgy of the time with processions at key feasts were mainly conducted externally so allowing church buildings to evolve in cell-like structures, rather in the more familiar aisles of the later Norman period. She showed us evidence of this in the original construction of Reculver church among many others. These cells allowed study rooms and chapels to be built. She also showed that the odd door holes high on the outside of early churches led out onto high balconies, presumably for preaching to a mass congregating outside. Some internal windows also allowed children to sing antiphonally on occasions like the Maundy Thursday mass.
After coffee, Mary Berg showed us how the early Norman churches in East Kent replaced most of the Saxon churches. The Normans, after the invasion of 1066, built castles and cathedrals in very quick order. When craftsmen were released from these tasks they were available to the Norman Barons and landowners to build the churches, many of which mirrored the architecture of their Norman domains to the west of Caen rather than a more local Kent “standard” design, thus giving us a wonderful variety of churches in this area.
Many of us retired to the Unicorn in St Dunstan’s Street afterwards to have a very pleasant lunch.
Thanks to everyone who supported us onb the day. We look forward to welcoming you at our next event; check this website for details.