Saturday, 9 December 2006

At the Shrine of Our Lady

In the south transept is located this ancient statue of Our Lady. Created in the famous alabaster workshops of Nottingham, it dates from the early fifteenth century. While the majority of such medieval works in England were destroyed at the Reformation, this statue had been in France, although little else is known of its history. It was purchased at auction in 1954 (against keen bidding from the Dean of York Minster!), and enshrined in the Cathedral on 8 December 1955, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The two simple candle sticks either side are also medieval.

Westminster Abbey possessed a famous medieval shrine to Our Lady, known as 'Our Lady of the Pewe' - perhaps a corruption of the French puissant, meaning powerful. Destroyed at the Reformation, the Abbey has recently restored an image of Our Lady of the Pewe, based on that in our Cathedral.

Our statue links Westminster Cathedral with the ancient faith of this land. It stands at the entrance to the Lady Chapel, beneath the Thirteen Station depicting Mary receiving her Son, in an area of the Cathedral fittingly called 'Mary's Domain.'

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