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Mark Hone

Memorial Chapel at Mells, Somerset

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Mark Hone

Pals may be interested to know of an impassioned article in the latest edition of 'Private Eye'(No 1106) concerning proposed changes to the Horner memorial chapel at Mells near Frome in Somerset. The Church of England is apparently planning to move the magnificent equestrian statue of Captain Edward Horner, killed during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, from its position in the chapel to another part of the church to allow redevelopment of the chapel as an area of quiet prayer. The bronze statue is by Alfred Munnings with a plinth by Edwin Lutyens who also designed the village war memorial and rebuilt the Horners' house Mells Manor after a fire. The tower of the church contains an inscription by Eric Gill in honour of Edward Horner's brother-in-law Raymond Asquith (son of Prime Minister Asquith) who also died in the war, while buried in the churchyard is none other than Siegfried Sassoon. The Eye's Architectural correspondent 'Piloti' deplores this proposal as a desecration of the Horner Chapel 'which is both a work of art and a monument to something momentous in our shared history'.

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john w.

Good company in the churchyard...

Is the movement a good or bad thing from the article's point of view?

John

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Mark Hone

John-Quite definitely against as I hope is showed in the quotation from the article at the end.

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Michelle Young

Mark,

I posted about this on January 26th, when I heard about it from a friend who had recently visited the church.

If memory serves me, I think that the congregation are in agreement.

Regards, Michelle :blink:

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HERITAGE PLUS

This is the Memorial in question.

Dave

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Mark Hone

A letter in the latest edition of 'Private Eye' (No 1107) puts the other side of the story. Apparently the statue was not orginally designed to be put in the Horner Chapel but under the Bell Tower with other monuments. However the floor was found to be insufficiently strong so it was eventually sited in the chapel. The author of the letter comments that she has always thought that the huge statue looked out of scale with the intimate Horner Chapel and cannot be seen that well.

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bcerha

Having visited St Andews at Mells on many occasions I would agree to a certain extent that in its current location it is rather difficult to view and fully appreciate the magnificent Munnings sculpture on its Lutyens plinth. However, that said it is a Horner family statue in the Horner Family chapel and as Mells is a pretty remote little village in the first place, the whole of St Andrews is usually a place for quiet prayer and reflection anyway, I know that I have always found it so.

If memory serves me rightly, as well as the equestrian statue there is a memorial in the window to the Horners elder son Mark who was tragically drowned in a swimming accident in 1907 as well as both Edward Horner and Raymond Asquith's original wooden cross grave markers from France.

I may be speaking completely out of turn but it may just be that Mells is one of those exclusive and secluded Somerset villages where property prices have risen steeply and homes are now occupied by people recently moved west from "Town" who have "new, interesting and innovative ideas" for ways in which their "communities" should be run. As I say I may be speaking out of turn and stand to be corrected but that has been the experience in some areas of neighbouring Wiltshire.

If this is the case then it is perhaps a shame and things should perhaps be left as they are.

Finally, as an interesting aside the Mells estate is in fact the "Plum" that little Jack Horner of Nursey Rhyme fame pulled out with his thumb from the pie. The pie being the list of title deeds of 16 west country estates sent by the then Bishop of Bath and Wells to placate King Henry VIIIth and Jack Horner as the messenger removed one in the certain beleif that the King wouldn't miss one - which he didn't!!

Does anyone know if the Horners or their descendants still live in Mells Manor ??

David

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Graham-McAdam

Having read the Eye article, and having to go to Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago I made the pilgrimage to Mells ( and posted a photo of S Sassoon's grave in the cemetery in a poetry corner here). The church, of course was locked, but fortunately a gardener was working and went to get the key. Unfortunately he didn't have the knack of opening the door and I went away monument -less. He told me that last year a couple visited from California who were descendants of the Horners of Great War times. He didn't have the knack for them either! A bit of a long trip for such frustration. I'm working up a letter to the vicar ( if I can invent an address for him) suggesting he has some 'passing on the knack' training session.

But a wonderful churchyard full of terrific gravestone of the period (Asquiths, Bonham-Carters, Ronald Knox etc)

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Graham-McAdam

I've just been to Glastonbury and looked into Mells where the church was open this time. What a wonderful collection of goodies - Burne-Jones, Eric Gill to start with. I thought you'd like to see how Lutyens fitted young Horner's battlefield wooden grave marker (first used at Noyelles, at Cambrai) to his Cenotaph-like plinth

post-19-1090776948.jpg

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Graham-McAdam

And a view from further away. As you can see, the memorial is rather stuck in a little chapel, facing into it, so I now think it'll be a good thing to move it up the transept and it will be the first thing you see going into the church - much more public. Anyway, well worth the trip.

post-19-1090778057.jpg

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Borden Battery

Here is a CEF Study Group recommended website related to this topic ... Borden Battery

Sir Alfred Munnings - Horse Painter Nov 2005

Alfred John Munnings(1878-1959) achieved renown as one of England's finest painters of horses. During the First World War his engagement by Lord Beaverbrook's Canadian War Memorials Fund led to a series of prestigious post-war commissions that made him a wealthy man. This website segment contains a very nice selection of unique oil painting of horses, working horses and calvary officers.

(Recommended by Richard Laughton and Chris Wright)

http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/munnings/eng/cwmb1eng.html

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