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Thursday, 19 March 2009

London Statue Commemorating Destruction of Marian Shrines During Protestant Reformation

I'm looking forward to seeing this.

If I find a picture of the proposed work, or a website for donations, I'll post it.
One of Britain's leading sculptors is to erect a statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus on the site of London's medieval Marian shrine.

Paul Day will spend a year creating the work, called Mary Most Holy, outside the front entrance of the Church of Our Lady of Willesden, north London. It will commemorate the Marian shrines destroyed during the Reformation.

The sculpture was originally intended to stand on land alongside the River Thames at Chelsea where King Henry VIII ordered the statues taken from 64 Marian shrines to be burned on huge bonfires in 1538....

The proposed statue of the Virgin and Child will be a bronze triptych on a granite plinth. A "beautiful" Virgin Mary holds up the Child Jesus against the backdrop of ruins and two side panels show reformers beheading and smashing up the statues of saints and destroying a crucifix....

Devotion to Our Lady at Willesden can be traced back to the late Anglo-Saxon period. Willesden means "spring at the foot of the hill" and there was a well with supposedly miraculous properties.

The well and the Marian shrine that grew around it were connected to the Church of St Mary that was mentioned in a 10th-century royal charter. By 1249 there were two statues at the shrine, one of which was a Black Madonna encrusted with gold, silver and precious jewels.

During the medieval period pilgrims travelled in their thousands to pray at the shrine. St Thomas More was a regular visitor and made a pilgrimage just months before he was arrested for refusing to take an oath attached to the Act of Succession.

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