Bishop Andrewes' Chapel  

Posted by Joe Rawls in ,

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) was one of the academic and ecclesiastical superstars of his day. With connections to both Oxford and Cambridge, he successively served as bishop of Chichester, Ely, and Winchester. He chaired the committee of translators that produced the King James Version of the Bible. He was a favorite preacher of the king, who loved Andrewes' erudite sermons, replete with numerous quotations from the Fathers. Andrewes' spirituality and churchmanship had a strongly "catholic" sensibility, rooted as they were in patristics and the Sarum Rite of the late medieval English church. In an age when the typical Anglican service was Morning Prayer led by a priest in a surplice (and the Puritans objected violently even to this), Andrewes swam against the current by insisting on a weekly Eucharist celebrated with a fairly rich ceremonial. However, he could pull this off only in his private episcopal chapel.

Fortunately, historical documentation allows us to reconstruct what these semi-public liturgies were like. An excellent article by Andrewes scholar Marianne Dorman summarizes this data, giving us a picture of a bright spot in an otherwise dim liturgical landscape. The excerpt deals with the physical layout of the chapel; read the whole essay to see how he augmented the official Prayer Book in creatively catholic ways. And, no, I have no idea whatever what "tricanale" and "triquestral" mean.


The focal point was the altar, raised on a foot-board and adorned with its lavish frontal against the eastern wall...It was railed off from the rest of the chancel to denote it was sanctum Sanctorum. These rails served another purpose as Andrewes insisted that communicants kneel before the altar to receive the Sacrament. On the altar were two candlesticks with tapers, basin for the oblation, and a cushion of violet and crimson damask which matched the altar frontal, for the service book. When the Eucharist was celebrated a chalice, paten, and tricanale for mixing the wine with the water were also placed upon it, whilst on the credence table were the silver and gilt canister for the wafers like a wicker-basket and lined with cambric laced...On an additional small table in the sanctuary was place a "navicula" (ie boat-shaped vessel) from which frankincense is poured into a triquestral censer for censing at the appropriate places in the Liturgy. This censer hung in the chancel behind the lectern during the services to symbolize the offering of worship to God. In the center of the chancel on a pedestal was the lectern with its great Bible, and in front of it was a faldstool, that is, a small desk for praying the Litany. There were also seats for the bishop (his seat was canopied), the chaplain, for ordinands and two long benches for the family. On the eastern wall above the altar there was a...hanging depicting the story of Abraham and Melchizedek emphasizing no doubt both the blessing and sacrificial ministries of the latter. The pulpit also was richly covered with a matching cloth of crimson and violet damask.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at Sunday, June 06, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



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