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A History - Part 4

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| 1991 - Restoration of the Holy Ghost | West Windows | Architecture & Guide | Lady Chapel |
Bell Tower | Stations of the Cross | 16th Century Panel | Exterior Statues |
1984-92 General Recordings | 1986 - Fr Joe Thompson | 1989 - St Bernard's Centre |
1991 - St Gabriel's, Popley | 1992 - Breach Lane Chapel, Sherfield | Assistant Priests |
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1991-92 ~ Restoration of the Holy Ghost

With the idea of a new church frozen, a new challenge was faced. Several parishioners had requested that the Holy Ghost church should be restored. In 1991, under the direction of Simmons and Sons as consultants, Fr Grufferty and Adrian Alder drew up a list of the works to be carried out. The following required attention: General overhaul of the roof including the bell tower; renewal of all rainwater goods; repair and cleaning of all stonework, to include the flint.

Internal works included repairs to all damaged areas due to dampness; re-painting throughout; repair and overhaul of all windows to include three new windows at the west elevation; restoration and cleaning of all paintings; refurbish all the benches in the main body of the church; a new sound system to include a loop system for the hard of hearing; a new lighting system; a new carpet in the sanctuary and carpet in the aisle and on the stairs to the balcony; improve the heating system; sand and polish floors, remove the balcony frontal and replace with railing for greater visibility. The estimated cost was £120,000 including professional fees. A Fund-raising Appeal was launched on June 7th 1991.

In order that the work could be carried out effectively, the church closed on October 27th 1991 and it re-opened on 1st March 1992. While the church was closed, Sunday Masses were held at St Bede's School and week-day services were held in the Burgess Road Hall.

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There were several exciting discoveries made during the restoration work: -

  1. The stone mouldings throughout the building were originally painted gold and red to blend with those on the sanctuary. It was decided to paint these according to the specification of the Architect.
  2. The figure on the cross was discovered to be bronze which had been painted with gold paint. The original reveals a beautiful figure with fine detail.
  3. In the Lady Chapel we found the following inscription on the candle holder:
    Viggini Deiparae de Asseerquick Ex Voto
    Orato Animo Laetanes Offerunt
    Edmundus Waterton de Walton Eques Christi
    Et Josephine Uxor SVA Carissima
    Die 11 June AD 1862
    This could easily be the original sanctuary lamp from Burgess Road Hall.
  4. When Nazareno D'Angelo came to restore the 14th Station of the Cross he discovered that Joseph of Arimathea had completely faded over the years. One of the great joys of the restoration work was to see his reappearance from the gloom of ages.

The church was officially reopened with a concelebrated Mass on March 6th 1992 with Bishop Crispian Hollis as the main celebrant. During the Mass, Mr Albert Smallbone was invested as a Knight of St Gregory for his many years of dedicated service to the Holy Ghost Parish.

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Windows for the West Elevation

The three windows in the west elevation were in need of complete renewal. It was therefore decided to opt for stained glass. Andrew Taylor was commissioned to execute three new windows. These were installed in April 1992.

Andrew Taylor explains the background to his design ...

"The brief initially suggested for the west windows, was in essence, "To replace the drab, diamond-quarried panels with something showing a splash of colour, but still allowing plenty of light into the building".

The three lancets and their slender, relative height, put me in mind of the 'Five Sisters' windows at York Minster (despite the vast difference in scale). These began life as geometric gothic patterns, with painted lines of stylised foliage on clear white glass; a device invented to save costs and let a good amount of light into medieval churches. Over the centuries these five massive windows have been releaded and repaired so many times that they resemble tonal mosaic of green/grey fragments, punctuated occasionally by small, random points of colour.

My original drawings used this theme as a basic starting point. The idea was to use a lot of offcuts of antique glass etc. to fire it with various yellow and gold stains (and possibly some tracing painting as well) and to assemble it into a mosaic of random shapes. The whole design would be given form and unified by a central sun motif, radiating through the three lancets.

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I did several impressions and in one of them introduced the feeling of landscape with lots of water and natural forms, thus relating the sun motif to the earth and life. After some discussion with Fr Tom, this is the design which was finally chosen. The shapes had become less random, the impression became a design which had moved a long way from the original starting point. Nevertheless, throughout the work there is a strong element of improvisation.

The cartoon (full size drawing) was executed quickly with a lot more detail than originally envisaged. Foliage grew in all directions, even a few insects and animals appeared. Water is also a main theme of the window. It is there in the central light as a river and appears in a variety of ways throughout the window. It is a basic element in all of life.

I think the window is about life on this Earth and all the elements of nature; the sun, sky, water, earth and all things growing. The plants may be recognisable or at least they should look familiar. There are no people depicted but their presence is hinted at in the ploughed earth and growing corn and also the human element is in the onlooker."

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The Sun: Right at the top is the sun. "God made the greater light to govern the day ..." Genesis 1:16. The greater light dominates the central windows but you can see the rays of light spreading out in different colours through all three windows. The windows should really be seen in harmony. As the windows were commissioned during the Decade for Evangelisation, January 6th, 1991 - 2000, the rays of light are symbolic of God's light affecting the whole of creation.

Creation: At close range the work of creation is very evident. Somebody has described them as "environmentally friendly". The task of the Christian is to re-create the world. Because of 1992 and all things European, Fr Tom specifically requested that the present European logo be placed in the window.

The river is symbolic of Ezekiel's vision of water flowing from the threshold of the Temple. The water flows out like a mighty river over the whole of creation, bringing healing and abundant fruit. The water is, of course, a symbol of Christian Baptism, and as the windows are positioned above the entrance to the church, they are a sign of our entrance into the Body of Christ.

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Architecture and Guide to the Holy Ghost Church

The style of the Church has been described as early English or thirteenth century and the materials used throughout are flint with Doulting stone dressing. The nave is 25 metres long and 14 metres high. The decagonal sanctuary has a beautiful north transept - the Lady Chapel - while the south transept is the sacristy, above which is the organ loft. Between the Church and the Presbytery is the bell tower rising to 22 metres. There are large stone buttresses surrounding the building. The two west buttresses contain the statues of St Edmund of Canterbury, who is patron of the Diocese of Portsmouth, and St John the Baptist (Bishop Cahill's first names were John Baptist). In a niche, facing Burgess Road, is a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception who is also patroness of the Diocese. Above the front door is a richly moulded recess filled with a stone carving representing the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.

The interior of the Church has outstanding beauty for the day, every detail carefully planned and skilfully executed. Between 1903-1908 the windows in the sanctuary were made and installed. The paintings on the sanctuary walls and ceiling were executed by Mr Westlake F.R.S.A., whose art has influenced many churches in the South of England.

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The windows and the paintings, when viewed from the nave, should be seen as one beautiful and harmonious story of the Trinity's love for people. The central picture over the throne canopy shows Jesus on His mother's knee; surrounding this centrepiece are the seven spirits "who are before the Throne". Rev. 1:4.

  1. The Angel guarding Heaven
  2. The Angel who gave the Promise of the Messiah
  3. The Archangel Raphael (Tobias 5:6), the guardian of our spiritual lives
  4. St Michael (Jude 9) the champion against Evil and protector of the Church
  5. St Gabriel of the Annunciation (Luke 1:19)
  6. The Angel who took the knife from Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:11)
  7. The Angel who came to Jesus during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:48)

To complete the series of paintings we have John the Baptist, who is seen as the great messenger (angel) of the Incarnation. The spaces above and below these figures are filled with scrolls bearing the words of the hymn "Come Holy Ghost, Creator Come".

Four of the windows contain the four Evangelists because it is through them we have received the message of Jesus. The 5th window has St Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus. The last window contains Pope Alexander I who stands for the Universal Church and obviously Canon Scoles' patron.

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Below the windows are sixteen Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament. Going from left to right there is; Abel, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Noah, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David, Moses, Son of Sirah, Ezechiel, Joel, Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah. The theme of their lives is carried through to the Cross at the centre as a symbol of Christian victory and to the Tabernacle as the symbol of the Lord's permanent love for his people.

Again moving from left to right, the Emblems of the Cross and the Last Supper are depicted lower down beginning with the 30 pieces of silver.

The materials of the altar are of a great mixture, belonging to a later period of architecture than the rest of the church. Before the Liturgical requirements of Vatican II the altar and reredos were attached. Two slabs of magnificent green Mexican onyx with a carved cross of pure white marble form the front of the altar, surmounted by the Sicilian marble top containing the relics of St James, the Apostle, St Stephen and St Bede.

The altar, supported by four columns of Bois de Jourdan and Serpentine marble, rests on a plinth of Languedoc marble.

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The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel is divided from the nave of the church by a richly moulded arch, supported on monolith marble columns with carved capitals. It is lofty and well proportioned and has been described as the transept or founder's Chapel, dedicated to Our Lady Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

A tablet commemorates the date the church was solemnly consecrated in 1903 by the second Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend William Timothy Cotter, who became the third Bishop of the Diocese.

The altar itself is a work of exceeding richness and beauty, and its front consists of amber onyx divided by marble and agate onyx columns. When it was consecrated the relics of St Cosmos and St Christopher were deposited in the 'sepulchre' of the altar-stone.

The reredos is composed of marble and alabaster. In the centre, under an arched canopy of alabaster, surmounted by a tower and pierced spire, stands a marble statue of the Blessed Virgin in the attitude of pronouncing the Magnificat. There is an inscription on the cornice above the arcading expressing the dedication to Our Lady Immaculate

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On either side of the principal statue are small statues of the patron saints of the founder and his three brothers - Saints Ignatius, Augustine, Alexander and George. St Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus, being recognised by his text bearing the letters A.M.D.G. (All for the greater glory of God). St Augustine, with crozier, is presumed to be St Augustine of Canterbury, sent from Rome by Pope St Gregory and founder of the See. St Alexander is presumed to be the Pope mentioned in the Roman Canon. St George is easily recognisable.

On the wall behind the altar, above the reredos, are pictures representing the Assumption of Our Lady and the opening of her tomb. Above these two is a painting of her Coronation.

On the ceiling are depicted the principal events of Our Lady's life: First, the Presentation of Our Lord to the Gentiles (usually called the Magi); second, the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple; third, the working of Christ's first miracle at Cana at the request of His mother; while the picture immediately over the altar represents the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Our Blessed Lady and the Apostles.

In the angles of the groining under each picture is the Prophet who wrote on the subject in the Old Testament, and the Evangelist who wrote about it in the New Testament.

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The lower part of the walls of the Chapel are in very rich blue and gold brocading. The upper part is powdered over with a rich ornamentation of gold and colour.

The window is filled with stained glass, and shows forth under the well-known features of the five joyful mysteries of the Rosary, the operations of the Holy Ghost on Our Blessed Lady for the good of mankind. The small window facing the altar represents the death of St Joseph; it is placed here by Canon Scoles as a memorial to his late father, J.J. Scoles.

The Bell Tower

In the intersection between the Church and the Sacristy there is the Bell Tower, over 21 metres high, and the organ loft.

The Bell Tower contains the bell called "John", because it was sponsored by J. Liddell Esq. of Sherfield Manor. It weighs 23/4 cwt and is inscribed with the words "Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost". The bell was blessed by Bishop Cahill immediately after the consecration of the Lady Chapel altar on 9th September 1908.

The organ was installed to mark the opening of the second Vatican Council.

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The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross, by an unknown painter, are of no artistic value although it has to be said that they are of great value to the people of the Parish. The amazing feature of these paintings is that they have survived 60 years or more, for they are merely painted on canvas which in turn is stuck straight on to the wall.

During 1991-92, the Stations of the Cross and all the paintings in the Church were lovingly restored by Nazarino D'Angelo. In the 14th Station he discovered Joseph of Arimathea holding the crown of thorns. He had faded over the years and could not be seen before the restoration.

In the 12th and 13th Stations, there is St Theresa of Lisieux. Although the only connection she could have had with the church is that the paintings were executed around the time she was canonised, there is now, of course, a remarkable coincidence in that Theresa was born in Alençon which is now twinned with Basingstoke.

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16th Century Glass Panel

(A small conservation piece - by Andrew Taylor)

"The stained glass is a 16th century panel (measuring 18" x 9"), rescued from the old chapel of the Holy Ghost, which now lies in ruins near the present Holy Ghost church.

The glass was painted by a team of glaziers from Antwerp who had been invited to work in England by Sir William Sandys in 1522. Some closely related glass depicting the crucifixion, and which is fairly well intact, can now be found in the chapel of Vyne House, situated near Basingstoke, and which was the home of Lord Sandys. Other fragmentary remains are to be found in St Michael's Church, Basingstoke, in the Woolbeding Church, West Sussex, and in Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey. It would appear that all this glass originally came from the old Chapel.

Within the panel are three heads, one male and two female. The rest of the panel consists of fragments of cherubs and architecture; almost identical details are to be found in the glass in the Vyne Chapel. One female head, however, appears not to be contemporary with the rest and the style suggests it comes from the 15th century. This piece was severely corroded and on the exterior side had grown a weathered crust, stopping all light from passing through it. The deposit was rather like the rough surface of a stone, but patient hard scraping allowed some light to penetrate through.

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When the panel was removed from the church for inspection it was found that the lead was of recent origin and in good condition. The male head had a crack across the mouth. The parts had been releaded together with a foreign piece of glass inserted to fill a tiny gap; a rather disfiguring repair. It was decided to work on the face, to remove this foreign fragment and make a less noticeable repair.

The right hand corner of the panel was carefully dismantled so the male head could be removed and cleaned. A piece of clear glass was cut to replace the foreign fragment and the pieces were joined together using silicone, a flexible adhesive which allows joints to be easily undone in the future. Because of the clear insert near the mouth it was necessary to backplate the head. This was done by cutting a piece of clear glass exactly the same size as the head. Then a mould of the old glass was made in plaster powder to record any variations in flatness.

The new glass piece was placed exactly over this impression and fired to 700 degrees C in a kiln, so that the glass slumped to the shape of the original piece. The two could now fit very closely together for leading up. The advantage of backplating is that it protects the back of the medieval glass and if any paint has deteriorated on the original, this can be repainted on the backing glass. In this case it was necessary to repaint half the mouth, tone down the glass behind the insert and strengthen some weak areas of paint. When the painting was done the two pieces of glass were sandwiched and sealed together with silicone, then reassembled into the panel.

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Finally, when it was time to reinstall the panel, the original opening in the church was filled with clear horticultural glass, the panel returned to its place but set in a brass frame about an inch inside its original position. This process termed 'Isothermal glazing' not only protects the old glass from the outside elements but allows air to circulate behind it, thus preventing condensation from forming on the inner painted surface. Condensation is a prime cause of paint deterioration in stained glass."

(It is possible that the fragments of glass used in the panel were given to Canon Scoles by the Vicar of St Michael's.)

Statues on the Exterior of the Building

When the three statues on the exterior of the church were examined it was first thought that these were medieval. They were in a severe state of deterioration which may suggest that they were carved for the interior and not the exterior. Because of costs and the delicate nature of this work, it was decided to postpone removing these statues, have new ones carved and place them in a more secure environment until a later date.

One of the statues is of Edmund of Canterbury, Patron of the Diocese. The second statue is that of John the Baptist, patron of John Baptist Cahill, Bishop of the Diocese, 1900-1910, and the statue facing Burgess Road is that of Our Lady, patroness of the Diocese.

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1984-92 ~ General Recordings

In 1986, work began to rebuild St Bede's school roof. A building contract was signed for £137,757.50, the parish being responsible for paying £20,663, 15% of the total cost. In the same year the houses in Burgess Road were renovated, made habitable and rented out to single people.

All the Sacramental Programmes were introduced, RCIA, Reconciliation, Baptism, Marriage Preparation. The Communion Programme was already well established.

1986-88 ~ Fr Joe Thompson M.H.M

Fr Joe came to the Parish in September 1986. He retired from the African Missions. He had pastoral responsibility for Popley and the Northern Villages as well as St Bede's school.

On Monday 28th November, 1988 during his day off, Fr Joe stepped off a bus in Bridge Street, Westminster (near the Houses of Parliament) at 11:32 am. He walked into an oncoming van and was critically injured. He was taken to the I.T.U. of Westminster Hospital where he remained in an unconscious state until he died on Monday 12th December 1988. At seven o'clock on the day of his accident, a special Mass was offered for his recovery; as the Parish returned from work, news had spread quickly and the church filled to capacity. His Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Holy Ghost on Tuesday 20th December. The chief celebrant was Mgr Cyril Murtagh, Vicar General of the Diocese (the new Bishop had not yet taken up his appointment). Fr Joe is buried in Worting Road cemetery.

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1989 ~ St Bernard's Centre

The Social Club closed in August 1989.

1991 ~ St Gabriel's Church, Popley

On February 17th 1991, the Anglican Community ceased to use St Bede's as a place of worship. On that day they took possession of their new church by ceremoniously walking from St Bede's to their new building. The congregation were led by the Vicar, Rev. Peter Furber and Fr Tom Grufferty, who read the Gospel and preached at the first service in the new building. The Anglican Community have placed a plaque in the Foyer of St Bede's to commemorate the use of St Bede's School for Anglican worship.

1992 ~ Breach Lane Chapel, Sherfield on Loddon

In 1992 a lay-led Eucharistic Service replaced Mass in Sherfield on Loddon. This took place each Sunday with the priest going to say Mass once a month.

In September 1992 Fr Tom Grufferty was transferred from Basingstoke to become Parish Priest of St Joseph's Havant. He was replaced by Fr Joseph McElhinney, who was formerly Parish Priest of St Joseph's, Bracknell

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Assistant Priests at Holy Ghost

  • 1907-1908 : John H. DENVIR
  • 1908-1909 : John P. MURPHY
  • 1909-1910 : Daniel McCARTHY
  • 1910-1913 : Ambrose MULHOLLAND
  • 1913-1914 : Albert Peter LION
  • 1925-1929 : Michael HEGERTY
  • 1939-1943 : Joseph MURTAGH
  • 1943-1954 : Joseph W.G. LEVEY
  • 1948-1952 : Anthony BIRRER
  • 1954-1958 : Thomas GRUNDY
  • 1957-1961 : Joseph LEVEY
  • 1958-1961 : Anthony FAULKNER
  • 1962-1965 : John BOOCOCK
  • 1963-1964 : Denis P. RYAN
  • 1964-1966 : John H. WILKIE
  • 1965-1967 : James GILLOOLY
  • 1967-1972 : Terence V. HEALY
  • 1967-1969 : Anthony ffrench-MULLEN
  • 1969-1970 : Anthony (MAXWELL-)WARD
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  • 1970-1971 : Daniel AHERN
  • 1971-1972 : Joseph FALLOON
  • 1972-1973 : Patrick J. O'REILLY
  • 1972-1973 : Shaun BUDDEN
  • 1972-1977 : Anthony PENNICOTT
  • 1973-1974 : John B. MURPHY BA
  • 1974-1976 : Patrick LYONS
  • 1974-1976 : Peter CODD
  • 1976-1979 : Donald T. CLEMENTS
  • 1976-1982 : Padraig FAUGHNAN
  • 1977-1978 : Michael CAMBELL (Cloyne)
  • 1982-1985 : (EASTON-)WILLIAMS
  • 1979-1986 : Thomas TAAFFE
  • 1982-1983 : David LOWIS BA Lic ECC Hist
  • 1985-1988 : Peter HOLLINS (Salford)
  • 1986-1988 : Joseph THOMPSON MHM
  • 1988-1990 : Richard MANIAK
  • 1989-1991 : Lawrence FLINN MHM
  • 1990- ....... : Graham ATTRIDGE
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Deacons at Holy Ghost

  • 1975-1978 : Patrick TAYLOR
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