News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
The Parish Priest and PCC of Houghton Regis have released new photographs of All Saints’ Parish Church to celebrate the next Heritage Open Day.
The photographs show the 15th century ceiling of the Parish Church in unprecedented details. The ceiling features carved figures of saints and decorated bosses. Remnants of the original gilding applied to the figures and of the paint which probably covered the entire ceiling can be seen, giving visitors a glimpse of how striking and colourful the space must have looked in the Middle Ages.
The identity of the figures was unknown for decades. Architects and historians visiting All Saints’ guessed these could have been angels (a typical, but rather different feature of medieval church rooves), monks (given the connection between All Saints’ and St Albans’ Abbey), or of saints. This last supposition now appears to be the correct one because, thanks to these new photographs, the figures can be clearly seen as men wearing crowns originally decorated with a cross – crowns represent heavenly reward from Jesus Christ. As Scripture says, “Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12) Thus, the figures represent the saints in heaven watching over and shielding those who gather in prayer in the Parish Church.
The easternmost portion of the ceiling marks the position of the Rood Screen (or Chancel Screen) in the Middle Ages, and it formed a “Canopy of Honour” above an image of the crucified Christ placed on top of the screen. Traces of gilding and colourful pigments can now be seen.
Photos: Father Diego Galanzino
Copyright: All Saints' PCC Houghton Regis