Tuesday, 9 August 2016

St Catherine at Arundel

On my day off last Thursday I went to Arundel, a place I hadn't visited in 30 years. At the east end of the Anglican parish church you can peek into the Fitzalan Chapel, the private chapel of the Catholic Dukes of Norfolk which is only accessible via the Castle. The east window of the chapel is a riotous Victorian catalogue of holy people (plus the then Duke and his family), and, lo and behold, blessed Catherine the Martyr is among them, complete with wheel and massive sword. The child next to her is probably not, as I first thought, a cherub thoughtfully holding her martyr's palm for her, but one of the Holy Innocents and his palm rightly belongs to him.

Catherine, like the rest of the assembled company, is supposed to be gazing rapt at Our Saviour in the centre of the window. 'She's rolling her eyes,' commented Ms Formerly Aldgate. 'She looks incredibly bored.' 'I think that's supposed to be piety rather than boredom,' I suggested, 'but it's often a fine line.'

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