Sir Ninian Comper and St Wilfrid's Cantley

The following details come from the church of St. Wilfrid's, Cantley, showing the exquisite work of that master of the gothic revival, Sir Ninan Comper. Here is an introduction to some of the details of the church by Fr. Anthony Symondson, SJ:
In 1894 [Sir Ninian Comper] was able at St. Wilfrid's to erect a pure Gothic altar for the first time in a parish church. The altar was of stone and stood free from the east wall. Modelled on the evidence of medieval illuminations, it had four riddel posts, hung with curtains suspended by silk cords looped in split rings running on black iron rods. The posts supported gilded figures of kneeling angels holding tapers, taken from precedents discovered by Bodley in Nuremberg. There were no gradines, or shelves, for a crucifix and six candlesticks, only a low reredos, carved coloured and gilded. Two candlesticks lay on the mensa and the altar was covered by an embroidered, panelled frontal and narrow frontlet. There was an overhanging canopy, or tester... Above the altar is a pyx designed to reserve the Blessed Sacrament, suspended 'with its gold and snow-white linen glittering in front of the expanse of silver glass ... bearing its jewelled imagery of saints that ever surround the Presence'. The adoption of this method of reservation was then unknown in England. Experimentally it had been proposed by Pugin at St. Mary's, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, in 1839-40...

Photo credits: Allan Barton

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.