Statues

St Michael, 1918

Little-St-Michael

The April 1918 Parish Magazine states that the statue was produced by C W Jewitt, a member of the choir, with the gilding for the wings and parts of the armour, halo and crucifix done by Mr Harper, who had also gilded the reredos in the Resurrection Chapel. The magazine added:

The stone base especially intended for it was let into the wall near the door at the time the church was built, and we have been hoping all that time, wondering whether the Figure would ever come to stand on it. A propos of this hangs an amusing tale. In the old days, when the present Vicar was curate at S Michael’s, Mr Penfold was catechising the Sunday School children one Sunday afternoon in church, and pointing to the stone pedestal on the wall, asked if they knew for whom it was intended. One bright youngster immediately held up his hand and said “Please Sir, for Mr O—n [ie F W Osborn]”! Even Mr Penfold, we believe, could not keep his countenance when this amazing idea was proposed!

The same article also described the statue:

S. Michael is holding the scales of judgement. He is weighing a soul in one scale against its sin in the other. The sin is as black and ugly as it always is when stripped of its worldly trappings, and by placing one foot against S. Michael’s armour is trying to force down the scale, looking down with his mouth open, perhaps calling for help from the demons of hell. His weight and malice make it evident that the soul being weighed in the other scale would be found wanting were it not that S Michael is placing the Crucifix in that scale. To the foot of this the soul clings, bringing the scale down so completely that it leaves no doubt that the merits of the Cross outweigh the power of evil. The soul is on S Michael’s right hand, the side of the blessed… while the sin in the scale on S Michael’s left hand … the Figure altogether is full of grace and beauty.

On Easter Eve, at the first Evensong of Easter, it was solemnly dedicated, the clergy and choir, accompanied by the Thurifer, Cross-bearer and Candlebearers, going there at the end of the Procession. After the prayers of Dedication, Hymn 616, “Life and strength of all Thy servants,” was sung, the inspiring words of which are so appropriate to the present time. We owe a great debt of gratitutde to Mr Jewitt for all his work. … which has been a labour of love to him during a very long time. The incidental expenses connected with completing and gilding the statue, removing it from its former place, and repainting the west wall for its reception, have been borne by the Women’s Branch of the Guild of S Michael.

The September 1926 magazine added that a Union Jack and the Girl Guides’ company colour had been placed under the statue.


Our Lady, 1926 (Faith Craft-Works)

Our-Lady

The December 1925 parish magazine stated: “At last we are going to have the statue [of our lady] for which we have been collecting for some time past. One generous subscriber has helped us much. The collections from the Women’s and Girls’ Wards of the Guild have also been devoted to this object” About £35 had already been raised, with the total cost of the statue and pedestal projected at £40. It was intended as a memorial to the 1924 Mission to stand “outside the chapel of our Lady and the Resurrection” and it was hoped that it would be ready for Christmas or Epiphany that year

The January 1926 issue stated that “The ‘Faith Press’ were unable to get the statue executed by Christmas, which was rather a disappointment. But this is often the way with artists, and we shall not have to wait very long, as it has been promised by the end of January, so that it will be able to be dedicated at the Feast of the Purification, which will be a most appropriate day.”

The March 1926 issue stated it had “at last arrived in England from Italy, and will be dedicated on the Eve of Lady Day, Wednesday March 24th, at 8pm”. The April 1926 one described the dedication. It began with prayers and Keble’s hymn Ave Maria (English Hymnal 216), followed by special devotions and a sermon by Rev C A M Stewart. It also described the statue as made of oak, and slightly gilded. It had been decorated with lilies for its dedication, then veiled with all the other “ornaments” until Easter Eve. It concluded “A small blue curtain will hang behind it, which will be a more satisfactory background than the wall. We are not quite sure about the haloes above the heads of the figures. It may be that they will look better without them, but we shall see later on.” As can be seen in the above photograph, the haloes remain in place to this day.

The May 1947 issue stated that the statue was to be moved to nave, stating “We are getting an expert opinion as to the cleaning of the statue, and a new lamp has been ordered to hang at the side in memory of Ida Warrall.”

St Michael, 1939 (Faith Craft-Works)

Big-St-Michael

The September 1939 parish magazine states that the church’s memorial to Fr Davis was to be a large statue of St Michael, given by Mrs Davis in memory of her husband. It was to be dedicated on the Eve of the Festival of St Michael at the first Evensong of the Patronal Festival at 8pm. It added “The statue is a very beautiful one and is being made by the Faith Craft-Works. It will stand in front of the second pillar on the right hand side of the Nave.”

The statue was probably designed by William Wheeler, although William Lawson and Ian Howgate are also possible candidates.