St Augustine’s week 2013 promises more visitors to Pugin’s church of St Augustine in Ramsgate

Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 06.14.22Friends of St Augustine’s in Ramsgate are expecting a record number of visitors to their church for this year’s St Augustine’s week, now in its third year.  This year’s programme includes music, a play, readings, lectures and tours and will commence this Saturday, 18th May and conclude on the feast day of St Augustine of England, Monday 27th May.  The church, where its famous architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin is buried, will be open every day during the week from 10am until 4pm.

Chairman of Friends of St Augustine’s and custodian of the church, Fr. Marcus Holden, is optimistic about the numbers of people planning to come to Ramsgate for St Augustine’s week.  “I am delighted by the response so far.  We have had many more people contacting us to say they will visit and take part in events we have planned for this year’s St Augustine’s week.”

Apart from the many pilgrims who will travel to Ramsgate during the course of the week, St Augustines are expecting a significant increase in the number of local and cultural visitors who want to learn more about the church, St Augustine’s landing in 597AD and its significance, and to find out more about the church’s famous architect, Pugin.  Fr. Marcus Holden went on to say “St Augustine’s is also a place of learning as well as being a church.  Visitors will be able to find out more about its history and significance, but many will visit because it is such a magnificent church to come into and to be able to enjoy its fine features and atmosphere.

He added “St Augustine’s week will help to attract visitors from far and wide to Ramsgate, but we hope it will also attract local families and people of all age groups to look in and see this part of Ramsgate’s heritage for themselves.”

A full programme for the week is available on the Friends of St Augustine’s website

www.augustinefriends.co.uk

Or is available from the local tourist offices, St Augustine’s church in St Augustine’s Road, Ramsgate or from St Ethelbert’s church in Hereson Road, Ramsgate.

Admission to the church is free.

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website: www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

 

Augustus Welby Nortmore Pugin had his own church of St Augustine built next to his home, the Grange. He and his family are buried in the Church.  Pugin designed many churches across the Country and abroad.  He is most famously known for his designs for the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011 with the setting up of Friends of St Augustine’s.  Last year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth.  This year, Friends of St Augustine’s is celebrating Pugin’s contribution to education, skills and learning

For further information or comment please contact Fr. Marcus Holden on 07738 153081

St Augustine’s church, Ramsgate marks end of Pugin bi-centenary celebrations

5th March 2013

St Augustine’s Ramsgate celebrates success of Pugin bi-centenary and newest Catholic Shrine

St Augustine’s church, Ramsgate has celebrated the end of the Augustine Welby Northmore Pugin bi-centenary with a special mass to celebrate his life and to mark the first anniversary of the church becoming a shrine to St Augustine who landed in Thanet in 597 AD

The Mass, celebrating the life of Pugin, was held last Friday.  The congregation packed into the church to hear the visiting chief celebrant, Abbot Cuthbert Brogan, talk about the life of Pugin and the significance of his work here in Ramsgate and across many countries.  Pugin’s Great Great Grandson, Robert Pugin Purcell gave the reading and later along with Abbot Cuthbert carried out the opening ceremony of the church’s Cloister Garden which had been reset and restored after years of being overgrown and in a state of disrepair.

During the Mass a very special event took place when Abbot Cuthbert placed a relic of Pope Gregory the Great in the Pugin chapel.  The relic of the Pope who was known to have sent Augustine to evangelise England in 597 AD had been acquired from Rome.  Gregory the Great is most famously credited with the remark before he was Pope when he was presented with some slaves in the market-place in Rome from England.  On being told they were Angles, he is understood to have said “not angles, but angels.”

A reception was held afterwards in Pugin’s Cartoon room in the grounds of the Grange.   Commenting on the event, Robert Pugin Purcell said that he was delighted by this tribute to Pugin .  “If my Gt Gt Gandfather could have witnessed the events in his church today, he would have been delighted.”

Fr Marcus Holden, Parish Priest and Custodian of the church said. “It has been a wonderful celebration this evening – one of many enjoyable and successful events over the last year marking the bi-centenary of Pugin’s birth and to celecbrate the first anniversary of the church becoming a shrine for St Augustine”.

He went on to day.  “This celebration has capped off a fine year for the Friends of St Augustine’s. I have been particularly pleased how so many people and organisations from Ramsgate, Thanet and from much further afield representing so many interests, have visited Pugin’s church for the first time.  I am even more pleased that since we have opened our doors to everyone we have seen a significant interest in the numbers of tourist visitors and members of the general public who are coming to Ramsgate to see Pugin’s great work and to enjoy our church.”

On the progress of the Restoration work, Fr Marcus went on to say “Slowly but surely we are restoring this fine church built by Pugin, but we still have some way to go.  We invite everyone to come along and visit the church – there is no charge to enter and we want to listen to visitors’ views about the church and to make it as welcoming as possible.  It is important that the church is seen as one the great historic attractions in Thanet as well as a place of special worship.  It is there for everyone to enjoy.

Friends of Pugin’s St Augustine’s church will shortly be publishing its new programme of activity – details will appear on its website www.augustinefriends.co.uk.  Opening times may also be found on the website.

Notes for editors:

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1 March 1812 – 14 September 1852) was Britain’s foremost architect and designer of the nineteenth century.A family man whose faith, ideas and designs, changed the face of Victorian Britain and influenced the world.

His Gothic revival work culminated in the interior design of the Palace of Westminster and its world famous clock tower, ‘Big Ben’.  Pugin designed many churches in England, and some in Ireland and Australia and his influence is international.

St Augustine’s church is the ‘ideal church’ of Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) who constructed it between 1845-1852 next to his home ‘the Grange’ according to his ‘true principles of Christian architecture’.

 

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website:www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011 with the setting up of Friends of St Augustine’s.  This March has marked the end of the celebrations of the  200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth when his church was declared a shrine to St Augustine.

For further information or comment please contact Fr. Marcus Holden on 07738 153081

Season of Sacred Music concerts in St Augustine’s heralded a “great success”

The programme of Sacred Music this winter season at St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate has been heralded a “Great Success”.  The Three concerts running from Late November through until Mid-December were performed by  the London based Victoria Consort on the theme of Christ’s redemption in music; the internationally recognised Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge on ‘the Light’ Seasonal Sacred Songs; and the Kent based Merry Opera Company’s Christmas Concert.

All three concerts were very well attended with a significant number of those present, making their first visit to St Augustine’s.

Chairman of the Friends of St Augustine, Fr Marcus Holden said “We were delighted by the wonderful performances by the choirs and by the amount of support we received from the local community.  A considerable number of those attending told us that this was either their first visit or had not visited for many years.  It was very pleasing to see so many people at the concerts.  We were very grateful to see so many people coming into the church.”

The concerts were part of the Friends of Pugin’s church of St Augustine’s campaign to raise funds to restore the church to its former glory.   Thanks to the many generous donations and from the grants received from English Heritage, the National Churches Trust, Friends of Kent Churches and other groups, including the support of the Pugin Society, work has started to restore the church.  Funding so far has paid for sufficient remedial work on the church to be carried out to enable St Augustine’s to extend its opening times and put on more events.

“A couple of years ago it would have been thought unthinkable to put on concerts.  The Organ was out of order and the lighting was out of order – the church was hardly usable and barely open to the public at all. Two years on, thanks to the support of the community, the many local volunteers and generous grants and donations from trusts and individuals, we have been able to put on a number of activities and events.  At the same time as a place of worship, we have increased the number of masses and services” Fr Marcus Holden said.

Looking ahead to 2013, Fr Marcus Holden said “We have made a great start on our restoration project, but we know we still have a long way to go.  We need to raise more funds if we are to complete the exterior work over the next few years as well as bringing the interior or the building back to the way Pugin had intended.  Visitor facilities are greatly needed also.

Fr Marcus Holden went on to say “We will be holding more events in 2013 – and Sacred Music will form an important part of our programme”

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website: www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

Notes for EditorsAugustus Welby Nortmore Pugin had his own church of St Augustine built next to his home, The Grange. He and his family are buried in the Church.  Pugin designed many churches across the Country and abroad.  He is most famously known for his designs for the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011.  This year it coincides with the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth.

 

UPDATE (photo): Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge comes to Pugin’s church of St Augustine in Ramsgate

The internationally recognised Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge is coming to St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate for a concert of music for seasons including Advent, Christmas and Candlemas. Proceeds from the concert called “The Light – seasonal sacred songs” will go towards the restoration of Pugin’s church. The World famous choir will come to Ramsgate before starting their tour of the West Coast of the United States.

The Concert will take place on Thursday 6th December at St Augustine’s church, St Augustine’s Road, Ramsgate commencing at 7.30pm.

Chairman of the Friends of St Augustine, Fr Marcus Holden said “We are delighted that the Choir of Jesus College Cambridge has agreed to start their season of music at St Augustine’s. This will be the only venue in Britain outside Cambridge where they will perform in the run up to Christmas, before setting off for their tour of the West Coast of the United States”.

The Choir, conducted by Mark Williams, is made up of twenty-six male and female undergraduate choral scholars. They will perform sacred music by composers from over the centuries in their concert at St Augustine’s.

“We are thankful to have such a talented choir performing in our church – they are one of the best in the country and I am certain that we can look forward to a wonderful evening of beautiful music” said Fr Marcus.

There are still some tickets left. Tickets £10 available from St Augustine’s (01843 850829) or from choir@jesus.cam.ac.uk or 01223 339699. Web link: http://www.jesuscollegechoir.com/downloads/events/The_Light_Poster.pdf

Tickets at the door subject to availability. Please book in advance to ensure you place.