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Un-English Light

31 May

Having spent an hour in Cottingham church the other day I have a bagful of photos so I may as well use one or two for the City Daily Photo theme of ‘shadow and highlight‘. The stained glass in this church is mostly from a Belgian artist J B Capronnier a fact which someone, Nikolaus Pevsner no less, complained about saying he felt like he was in a French church and “It is all totally un-English; and how much truer to the medium English glass is!”  Mr Pevsner’s claim to Englishness was somewhat strained being the a son of a Russian-Jew brought up in Leipzig but we’ll let it pass, we’re all communautaire these days, well at least until the end of the month. 
The church is kept almost completely unlit, so there’s plenty of shadow and a good chance of tripping over a pew until your eyes adjust.
Photo by Margot K Juby


Meet the Burtons

25 May
Richard Burton

Due to events that need not concern you I was forced yesterday afternoon to stay in Cottingham for three hours. Now Cottingham has a few attractions but not, even on a good day, three hours worth. And yesterday it was cold and raining heavily, yes I know it’s May. So seeking shelter from the elements I ended up in St Mary’s church, camera in hand and acres of time to fill. The place was, as usual empty with only the vicar’s CCTV cameras keeping me company. Anyway enough of my troubles ..
Tucked away by the entrance are three large (ridiculously large) memorials to various Burtons the people who owned most of Cottignham in the 18th century and indeed lots of east Yorkshire as well. The most notable, if you are into military-history things that is, is the one above to Richard Burton a commander of the British army in North America. He was lieutenant governor of Quebec and then governor of Three Rivers Province back in 1760s or thereabouts. Below are two more memorials to William and Robert Burton who as far as I can tell did little other than have great wealth and do whatever it is wealthy people do. I did not notice any memorial to Napier Christie Burton who seemed to manage to live beyond even the Burton family’s means and ended up selling the holdings in Cottingham, even at one stage going to debtors prison. Somehow I couldn’t find anything to him, strange that…

Robert Burton

William Burton


20 Mar
St Mary, Lowgate, Hull

noun BRITISH informal
an official who upholds petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense.

Imagine how it might be then after feeding hot food to poor people who would otherwise be looking in dumpsters and bins for cast-offs, to be told that you cannot do this because of some regulation about food safety. So it was with St Mary’s, Lowgate where the Council shot itself in the foot once again by denying a charitable organisation permission to serve hot meals to the homeless and poor because the food was prepared in unregistered homes and then brought to the church to be served. The vicar was threatened with prosecution for carrying out charitable works!
These days you cannot even give hot food away now without being registered by the Council no doubt with a fee to pay annually and with inspections. The so-called customers (no money is involved) might get food poisoning it is claimed, it goes without saying the Council does nothing about the hygiene of dumpsters. So it was to be sandwiches and cups of tea until proper facilities could be found which, given the flood of outrage this caused amongst the good folk of Hull, was not too long. A nearby café has offered the use of its kitchen so normal service has been resumed.
Meanwhile, and here the C of E really does not do irony, just a hundred yards or so down the road £4.5 million is being sought to build a restaurant in Holy Trinity church.

More From the Treasure House

12 Sep

Last couple of shots from the Treasure House. On top we have a distant view of St Mary’s and below County Hall, the red brick Victorian offices of East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 

Cold in the earth-and the deep snow piled above thee Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!

21 Jan

Thank you for that, Emily. Here’s one for the psychrophilic taphophiles amongst us, snowy tombstones in Cottingham churchyard.

Fiat Lux …. now pay for it.

9 Jun
Someone thoughtfully left the door open so I could get a shot down the length of St Mary’s in Beverley. Then I stepped inside and took another one. As I did so I noticed a small sign suggesting that photographers should pay a small fee for the privilege of capturing photons. C of E thinks it owns the light in its churches. Seems even light is being monetised! 


29 Mar

Around the corner from the Charterhouse is Bourne Street which has nothing much to boast about other than a view of  this alignment of columns and towers. From left to right: the Wilberforce monument, the spire of St Mary, Lowgate, the old Records Office and finally the Guildhall.