June 13 – A Short Walk around St Albans Cathedral

West window by Sir Ninian Comper

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we noticed a new addition to the church. It is a Roman chariot with a centurion on it. It was sitting in the nave of the cathedral. It will be part of the procession for the Alban Pilgrimage on 23 June. The chariot is part of the continual replacement of the puppets and other props for the procession and has been replaced over the last month by a group of special needs students from Oaklands College. They have done a magnificent job of the chariot and should be very proud of themselves.

Alban is honoured as the first British martyr and his grave in the St Albans Cathedral became and remains today a place of pilgrimage. For over 1700 years, people have journeyed to this place to remember Alban, to pray for peace and healing, and to seek God. This special day begins with a procession through the city centre, where giant puppets will retell the story of Alban’s martyrdom. We are looking forward to witnessing this spectacle as it promises to be a very special occasion.

Also in the nave is a rather lovely font with a fine tall painted font cover. The West window is by Ninian Comper and was made in 1925 as a World War I memorial. It depicts flags of all countries involved in the conflict as well as military saints arranged around Christ. Sir Ninian Comper was born in Aberdeen on June 10th 1864. His father was the vicar of St. Margaret’s church in Aberdeen, which is where his love of church architecture and decoration began. John Ninian Comper’s first work was the vaulted chapel at that church in 1889. As a young man, J.N. Comper was apprenticed to the celebrated architect, G.F. Bodley, where he developed his skill as an ecclesiological architect. Sir Ninian’s greatest masterpiece in architecture is said to be St. Mary’s, Wellingborough, which was entirely designed by him and was consecrated in 1908. Into this church, he blended English, French, Italian, Gothic, and Greek styles in a most brilliant and colourful whole. Sir Ninian died on 22nd December 1960. In 2014 the cathedral received a grant to repair the window and to repair and protect the medieval stonework of the west porch and the grand oak doors.