The 4th best church in the UK …

… is Sandham Memorial Chapel! That’s the opinion of Rachel Morley, Director of Friends of Friendless Churches. She was a guest of the podcast series, The Rest Is History, presented by historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook on 13 September. Rachel’s task was to list her top ten British churches, which is quite a task given that there are more than 16,000 in England alone!

The chapel is, of course, home to spectacular murals by Stanley Spencer, and was built as a memorial to Lieutenant Henry Willoughby Sandham, who died as a result of his service in Macedonia but is not remembered on any official memorial. The paintings were inspired by Spencer’s own experiences as a medical orderly at the Beaufort Hospital in Bristol and as an RAMC orderly and soldier with 7/Royal Berkshire on the Salonika front. Mention is made in the brief discussion on Sandham of the controversy surrounding the ‘Resurrection’ scene and its consecration, because it included animals, something that was new to me. You can find out more on the National Trust website.

You can listen to the podcast here (other podcast providers are available!) – if you want to go straight to Sandham Memorial Chapel, start about 30 minutes in:

While I’m on the subject of podcasts – something I’ve grown rather partial to – you may also enjoy this episode on the Western Front by the great Gary Sheffield:

Author: Robin B

Robin's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Robin joined the SCS in 2003 and served on the committee for 18 years as journal and web editor. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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