Friends’ Zoom lecture

28th November 2020 saw the Friends venture into something new! Not being able to meet together for most of the year, the Friends turned to the virtual world and hosted an online lecture.

The Dean of Hereford, and former Vicar of Tewkesbury Abbey, the Very Revd Michael Tavinor, gave a fully illustrated and entertaining lecture to some 80 ‘virtual attendees’ logging in from around the world. His subject was ‘Tewkesbury and Hereford – Compare and Contrast’ with topics ranging from history, buildings and library to events, local characters and famous visitors.

The lecture was a great success, with many able to attend who are usually unable to travel to Tewkesbury, and so this type of event is sure to feature in future Friends’ programmes. For a short period of time the lecture is available to view on this website – click here!

A Day in the Loft

On a cold and damp day in November 2019 I was able to explore some of the hidden spaces in the Abbey. The weather did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. If you would like a glimpse of the medieval roof spaces of this 900 year old building, without climbing all the steps, you can follow my story here – “A Day in the Loft”. Along the way you can see more of the work the Friends do for the upkeep of the fabric of the building. I hope you enjoy reading about a hidden aspect of the Abbey.

The tale of the Knitted Monks …

Congratulations to Rachel for her winning submission to the Young Friends’ Lockdown Story Writing Competition!

The clock struck 13 as the knitted monks came to life.

The Abbey was silent except for St Faith’s Chapel where the knitted monks began to move. This was the one day each year when the clock struck 13 giving the monks the power to come alive for 1 hour to go on a magical pilgrimage. This magic makes everything look different. The Abbey is transformed to look like how it used to be in Monastic times, with colourful paint depicting scenes from the bible everywhere. The stone pillars become covered in colour, the tombs are decoratively painted, and the ceiling is now alive with colour.

If you want to know what happens next … click here

Friends’ Spring Report

April and May are usually very busy months for the Friends, putting everything together for the Annual Friends’ mailing. Things had to be revised this year – the uncertainty over whether the Friends Festival, AGM and other events could go ahead, being unable to access the Abbey for photographs and printing, and not being able to gather the usual team for putting things together led to it all being scaled back rather and a different timescale to work to.

But a Spring Report was produced and delivered, albeit in early summer! The closed Abbey doors on the front cover are rather poignant in the current situation. The report can be accessed for online viewing or pdf download via this link.

Further Cancellations

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that under current circumstances it is impossible for the Friends to meet on the first Sunday of July for the customary Friends’ Festival and AGM or to have the now traditional excursion on the following day. Council therefore recently passed a resolution to cancel Friends’ Festival and to postpone the 2020 AGM indefinitely. We very much hope to be able to hold the latter before the end of the year. A mailing to all Friends will be sent out at the beginning of June.

Events Cancelled

We are sorry but the following have been cancelled

  • Friends’ committee meetings
  • Friends’ Council Meeting, 18th April 2020
  • Fitzhamon Lecture, 25th April 2020

If you have pre-purchased tickets for the Fitzhamon Lecture please hold on to them and arrangements will be made for a refund to be made to you when the Abbey Shop re-opens, or they may be exchanged if the lecture is rescheduled for a later date.

The Restoration of Tewkesbury Past

The first Friends’ event of 2020 takes place on Friday 24th January at 7.00pm in the Parish Hall when Mr Simon Lawton, Curator of the John Moore Museum, Tewkesbury, will be speaking on ‘The Restoration of Tewkesbury Past – The Abbey and its Legacy’. Tickets are £7.50, to include refreshments, and are available from the Abbey Shop, or on the door.

The Camera Cantorum

Work is coming to an end on refurbishing the roof of this old but little known chapel. This costly project highlights the work of the Friends in preserving the fabric of the Abbey. A brief history of the building and an illustrated explanation of what went on under the scaffolding and covers during Autumn 2019 can be found here

Friends’ National Conference

In the magnificent surroundings of Peterborough Cathedral and its precincts, representatives from 36 Cathedrals, Abbeys and Greater Churches, including 2 from the Tewkesbury Friends, gathered for the 11th biennial Friends’ Conference on the weekend of 11th-13th October 2019.

As always the conference provided an invaluable opportunity to share experiences, challenges and successes with Friends from around the country. A full report of the weekend can be viewed from this link.

Photograph of Peterborough Cathedral from publicdomainpictures.net