Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Security chancel

The chancel of this delightful Anglican church of All Saints in the suburb of Plumstead was designed by one of Cape Town's illustrious architects, William John Delbridge, in 1910. (I can't find any information about the original part but presume the tower was also Delbridge's.) Delbridge also designed the Polana Hotel in Maputo, and the Marine Hotel in Hermanus, along with many of the very distinctive thatched roofed houses that define Hermanus. He was interested in French Gothic designs, and the Arts and Crafts movement, which is borne out by the look of this little church.
The word chancel refers to the lattice or railing which was used to separate the clergy from the congregation, and comes to us via Middle Enlgish and Old French from a Latin word cancelli meaning ‘crossbars’. It is ironic that today there is a very high "chancel" right around the outside of the church in the form of a security fence with razor wire on top.

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