Friday, January 6, 2012

The Round Church, Cambridge England

The Round Church, Cambridge, England
a.k.a. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The round part of the church was built in about 1130 by the ‘fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre’. They were evidently influenced by the round church in Jerusalem called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th ct. Since they were Normans, recently arrived from France in 1066, they used the Norman or Romanesque style: hence the thick pillars and rounded arches. (Read the rest of the article from Christian Heritage here...)

Look at those massive columns!
(or are they pillars?)

Baptismal Font

A series of arches

The domed ceiling

I also came upon this interesting bit of information. The following letter was written by Ranald Macaulay, son-in-law of the late Francis Schaeffer: (copied from their website)


'Although there isn’t an official L’Abri branch in Cambridge there is a strong connection. In fact English L’Abri has two parts, the residential work in Hampshire and my personal contribution to the work of Christian Heritage in Cambridge. In other words, I continue as a L’Abri worker but work in Cambridge.

The Cambridge bit happened like this.  When in 1996 Susan and I felt it was time to make way for younger workers at the branch in Hampshire, we came back to Cambridge where we’d spent a sabbatical in 1988-89.  But we hadn’t a clue about what might open up.  In the event, the ancient Round Church right in the heart of the city, which you can see above, fell vacant in 1998.  Its amazing design and heritage attracts about 180,000 visitors each year!  Built by 1130, that’s about 80 years before the university began, it was modeled on the church in Jerusalem where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. But no one seemed to know what to do with it.

So, this was what opened up – the ROUND CHURCH!  To take care of it appropriately, a charitable organization called ‘CHRISTIAN HERITAGE’ was formed and this became officially responsible for the building in January 2001. Our first project was to make a 23 minute video called ‘Saints & Scholars’. This is on view all day every day; so people can sit down with headsets and get an impression of how significant, indeed essential, Christianity was in the formation of the West.  We also have a schedule of guided tours around the colleges...'(Read More from Christian Heritage UK)

P.S. My first introduction to Susan Schaeffer Macaulay was through her books 'How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig' and 'For the Children's Sake,' and later her lectures at homeschooling conferences (which I listened to via audio tape). Of course, her father, Francis Schaeffer the great theologian has been a  help to and influence on so many of us!

When we were visiting the The Round Church, we were thrilled so see and hear such a very Christian message being disseminated from The Round Church to the residents and visitors of Cambridge. But I did not know until I was gathering information from the Christian Heritage website for this post, that  Ranald and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay were involved in this ministry.

P.P.S. Photos are mine.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

Standing inside that church just had to take your breath away! Beautiful!

Paulette said...

I enjoy visiting old churches, such beautiful architecture. The baptismal font is amazing. In my area, they tend to build new churches very modern and minimal. You know the old saying, "they don't make things like they use to."

Anonymous said...

What an awesome church building!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and lending encouragement for my homemade laundry soap. So far I've been really happy with it. Your soaps sound great - I've always been fascinated with the idea of DIY soaps.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

The last shot is simply breath taking! I love the play of light coming thru the arch ways and the way the stained glass is illuminated. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Judy~ love your photos. And love the Schaeffers. I especially have loved Edith's books.

And since I didn't post on your felted bag post, I wanted you to know that it came out very nicely. I love doing felted bags (I line mine with fabric b/c the pens/pencils always seem to pierce the felt with their little pointy ends,) but like you, have hesitated in the slipper department! I'd love to know if you attempt them how they turn out!!)

Michelle said...

What a wonderful Church! This post made me think of all my own Church visits and pics but mostly from Italy. Of course I travelled before I had a digital camera so I don't think I'll be scanning all those pictures anytime soon. Keep them coming!

Ruth Kelly said...

They used to construct more of those round churches but not many survived, I think. The one I saw in Garway, Hereford, England only had the footings left. I'd love to go see the one in Cambridge.

Rachel said...

I LOVE the arches. Man, this is so beautiful! I wanna go!!!


Denise said...

Very lovely.

Under Her Wings said...

I love the photos, Judy! The MacCauleys and Shaeffers are two of my favorites. For the Childrens's Sake had a great influence on all of my girls deciding to home school, first through our oldest daughter. I didn't know that about the Round Church. Thanks for the info.

Joyce said...

I love Cambridge...interesting story about the Shaeffers connection. I'm not sure I knew that.


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