Thursday, 4 February 2010

Preview: Chapel of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene

After a run of beautifully sunny days (otherwise known as missed opportunities), the Costume Mercenary and company meandered down the hill, through the mist and haze, to the chapel ruins that squat at the bottom of the hill (behind a conveniently climbable fence and next to a rather forlorn-looking vegetable patch).

Several hundred photos later, the light was fading and we left just before the fog coalesced into light rain. As always the sorting of the results and the posting thereof will happen over the course of the next few days.

We had some hope that the overcast skies and mist could be said to be evocative of the heavy, yellow London fog rubs its muzzle on the windowpanes and licked its tongue on the corners of the evening. Or perhaps the incredibly gothic coat-dress will negate the need for good sunlight to bring out colour. Of course, such optimism was largely misplaced, but I do think we've gotten some reasonably pretty shots.

(The shot opposite is, incidentally, the apron-dress incarnation of the steampunk coat that the Mercenary can't seem to stop talking about. It is rather more elaborate than the other steampunk skirt prototype.)

The hospital, in its early middle ages heyday, used to house a priest and up to thirteen brethren and sisters who had fallen upon hard times. They shared between them every week twenty-three and a half loaves of white bread. Three days a week, they had broth. The hospital was founded either by a Sir John le Fitz Alisaundre or a John de Hameldun - who may or may not be the same person - in one of those historical mysteries that fascinate only the pedantic.*

The first chapel of the hospital was built on boggy ground and by the mid-fifteenth there was need to entirely rebuild it  (and it is the remains of this particular incarnation that we were clambering all over). All who contributed to the construction were granted a whole forty days of indulgence (there were, admittedly, short prayers that granted far, far more days, but that is hardly the point).

In Other News: the Costume Mercenary will again be trekking up and down the country. The Proprietor of Character Kit and myself will be at Foreign Fields Southern LRP Kit Fair, in Bristol during the 13th-14th of this month (clashing - and I'm really, terribly bitter about this - with the annual Viking Conference).


* Information garnered from British History Online and McAuley's Miscellany (the latter of which has some lovely photos of the chapel in the summer, when everything was overgrown with ivy.)

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