17 July 2012

Writers in Churches in Nottinghamshire #9: Dean / Samuel Reynolds Hole in Caunton

This image is from Dean Hole's (or Samuel Reynolds Hole's) autobiographical Then and Now (London: Hutchinson, 1901). Hole was a man of the church, although he was perhaps known as much by the broader general public as 'The Rose King', one of his extra-clerical interests being horticulture, especially roses.

His grave in Caunton is one of the first things seen on nearing the south porch of the parish church of St Andrew.

1850 – 1587
1887 – 1904
BORN DEC: 5 1819
DIED AUG: 27 1904'

Hole, therefore, was vicar at Caunton for 37 years and his name is remembered in a number of places in the church, such as in this brass plaque in the middle of the altar step:

'To beautify the place of
The Altar,
at which he served as a Priest,
and in memory of his Father and Mother,
who there received the
Bread of Life.
Samuel Reynolds Hole,
Vicar of Caunton,
erected this Window,
A. D. 1872.'

This is not the above mentioned east window, but the splendid west window dedicated to Hole himself, and I was very lucky to see it not in its restricted and distant ground floor aspect, but to climb to the first floor via the normally locked door to see the sight in its full glory: I am very grateful to the man who showed me up there, and only regret that I didn't ask his name so I can mention it here.

The left light shows Saint Elizabeth of Hungary with roses and lilies.

The central light shows Saint Andrew with a book.

And on the right is Saint Dorothy with roses again, and an apple.

At the top of the central light is the quotation 'The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose' (Isaiah 35: 1).

At the bottom of the window, and across the three lights: 'To the glory of God and in loving memory of Samuel Reynolds Hole DD many years vicar of this church and late Dean of Rochester this window is offered by parishioners and friends 1905'.

Moving away from Dean Hole now, my guide then led me up another flight of narrowing steps to another room where there was an amazing piece of clockwork: made by J. B. Joyce of Whitchurch (a name since absorbed into Smiths of Derby) and dated 1888, the clock is now powered by electricity.

Briefly back to Dean Hole before I wind this post up: he dedicated this window in the south wall of the chancel to his friend and fellow traveller the Punch cartoonist John Leech, although there was no way I could find the brass plate saying so. Who cares: this was a wonderful visit, and thank you so much!

(I visited this church because of the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham's Open Churches Weekends (Saturday and Sunday 14 and 15 July and 21 and 22 July 2012). Details of participating churches and opening times are listed here.)

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