A VERY English Day!

March 2 is the feast of St. Chad of Mercia, Bishop of Lichfield, whose shrine was in that city’s cathedral until Henry VIII’s commissioners destroyed it. Fortunately, some of his relics were saved and are enshrined in the Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham.  That city is also blessed to have the Oratory founded by Bl. John Henry Newman, where J.R. Tolkien was raised. There are also a thriving Ordinariate community there, as well as a Monastery of Ordinariate nuns. All of these are without doubt gifts of St. Chad.

Another important patrimonial anniversary on this day is the founding of the College of Arms in London by King Richard III. Given the prevalence of Heraldry in the English-speaking world, this is also an event worth marking (though I would be remiss if I ignored the Heraldic authorities in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa)!

1 thought on “A VERY English Day!

  1. Another patrimonial connection to St. Chad is St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham itself, the first Catholic cathedral in England since the Reformation, designed by the Gothic revivalist architect Augustus Welby Pugin. While Pugin was of French descent, he was raised as a Protestant, and converted to Catholicism in 1834. Pugin championed traditional English Gothic architecture so strongly that other 19th century converts like Newman and Faber objected that his designs were much more suited to the dormant Sarum liturgy than to the Tridentine liturgy. The contrast can be seen between the medieval Gothic style of St. Chad’s or St. Giles Cheadle and the Italianate Baroque style of the London and Birmingham Oratories. Perhaps another blessing of the Ordinariate is that now a liturgy and liturgical sensibility with roots in Sarum can now be celebrated in some of the Gothic revival style churches built by Pugin and his followers.


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