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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
At the Anniversary of the Feast of the Consecration on 20th October 2019 the Friends launched their 2021 Appeal to raise £202,100 for a ‘birthday gift’ to the Abbey to mark the 900th Anniversary of the Consecration in 1121. The Friends’ aim is to provide a new feature at the West End of the Abbey to transform the rather gloomy and untidy entrance to the Abbey. Over the next two years a specific project will be identified and the money raised. A page of this website has been created to provide regular updates on the plans for the Appeal and its progress – you can visit it via this link.
Lammas Bread is traditionally made using the first harvested grain of the season, and on Thursday 1st August a small group of Young Friends gathered in the Touching Souls Tea Room at the Abbey to make Lammas Bread under the direction of tearoom supervisor Margaret Gribble. The flour used came from nearby Stanway Water Mill. Go to the Young Friends page for a photo diary of their work, including a photo of the beautiful finished loaf.
The Young Friends have been very busy! You can read about their recent activities and upcoming events in the latest edition of the Young Friends newsletter which can be viewed and downloaded from this link. There are also photographs from the beating of the bounds at Rogationtide in May and the cleaning of the Gage Gates in June on the Young Friends page – do take a look!