Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Evening prayers in a knightly space

Dateline: Monday, June 28, 2015
Place: Temple Church, Middle Temple
Time: 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
Temperature: Still 26°C
Song of the evening: Carillon by Herbert Murill (Organ Voluntary)

Although my parents were Anglicans (albeit rather late in life), I am not used to attending evening services, except on Christmas Eve. Nor am I used to a more formal, choral liturgy as a member of the United Church of Canada. But I am so glad that I attended evensong at Temple Church, which is the sacred space for the Honorable Society of the Middle Temple. There is something so calming about taking time at the end of the day for a spiritual check-in in such a knightly (or nightly) place.

From top to bottom, left to right:
 Matthew, Carolyn, Martha, 
Debbie and Jenny
This medieval church was founded in the 12th century by the Knights Templar, the powerful order of crusading monks whose mission was to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. It was their headquarters in England and is tucked away off a lovely courtyard and located in London, between Fleet Street and the Thames, not far from King’s College. Apparently, the church design mimics that of the circular Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the interior is cool, shadowed without being gloomy, and peaceful.

As we enter, we are greeted by Robin Griffith-Jones, the current “Master of the Temple” (the Church of England priest who leads the service) and then are treated to a small exhibit of the Magna Carta, which has its 800th birthday this year. William Marshall, one of the original Knights, was a witness to the signing of the “Great Charter” at Runnymede and the current display is complemented by his effigy, which is on permanent display in the chancel.

Thomas Heyward (left, Wikipedia) and Temple Church program.
I am at church with Prof. Welsh and four other students, one of whom is Matthew Whitney Haney from South Carolina. 

Matthew is thrilled when we walk into the church and discovered reference to his ancestor, Thomas Heyward (below).

Heyward was one of the signatories to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, a document which has its roots in the Magna Carta. We never know when a research opportunity will present itself.

Afterwards I wander back out onto Fleet Street, refreshed and find myself in front of theTwinnings flagship shop at 216 The Strand. 

I don’t buy anything but enjoy the rich aromas of teas, especially Earl and Lady Grey … ah, the scent of the bergamot orange!

The walk over the Waterloo Bridge is an easy 20 minutes back to Stamford Street … 
this is the end to a wonderful first day “at school” in London.

Heyward, Thomas J. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 28, 2015 from

No comments:

Post a Comment