Letter from Revd F W Powell 1929



history & archaeology

The Revd F. W. Powell (Vicar of Kirkdale) to The Secretary of the University Chest Office, University of Oxford; 14 May 1929

The whole 'vicarage' (sometimes referred to as the 'rectory') of Kirkdale - comprising the church, its advowson (the right, as Patron, to present an incumbent) and its tithable lands - was given into the ownership of The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford by Sir Henry Danvers (Lord Danby) in the mid-17th century. With the title to these assets came a legal obligation to contribute to the maintenance of the Chancel of the church. Mr Powell therefore had to gain permission from the University to make proposed alterations to the chancel of St Gregory’s Minster by panelling the wall of the sanctuary, behind the altar. In consultation with the donor, he commissioned the work from the firm Temple Moore & Moore, established by the distinguished ecclesiastical architect, Temple Lushington Moore (1856 – 1920).

Temple Lushington Moore had been responsible for overseeing the major restoration of the church, launched by Mr Powell in 1909 on the basis of a subscription appeal.  In the proposed reredos design Gregory Bishop of Rome features, of course, as Patron saint of the Minster in Kirkdale. Bishop Paulinus converted and baptised King Edwin and Coifi the High Priest of the old religion, together with members of the Northumbrian royal family and aristocracy and a large part of the Northumbrian population in A.D. 627. 

Mr Powell's letter is transcribed as follows:

Dear Sir


I am sending by this post Messrs Temple Moore & Moore’s design for panelling the East end of S Gregory’s Kirkdale. The work is to be executed in English Oak, the reredos has S Gregory & S Paulinus, with the adoration of the Magi in low relief.

The cost of the work is £290 - there will be a few words naming the lady in whose memory Major J E D Shaw is giving it.

On the return of the design & with the approval of the Curators I shall apply for a faculty & have the work put in hand [...]

Yours faithfully

F W Powell

The Curators of the University Chest approved the work, which was duly carried out. The panelling is still in situ - unlike Temple Moore's elegant and light chancel screen which, in the 1960s, was removed for reasons now forgotten, and leans forlorn against the north wall of the north aisle.


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