'For love of Churches' - A journey with Candida Lycett Green

23 Oct 2012

Thank you to all who joined us at the Royal Academy on 16 October for what was a wonderful occasion. Candida Lycett Green delighted the audience with a brief journey through her life detailing how she came to fall in love with churches. 

Candida started by trying to convey

'how uplifting and often consoling, walking into an empty church can be especially in the early evening when there's still light'

she described how

'churches tell the story of the landscape all around them and how they tell the story of generations of local people, lives well spent'

this she said is what 'moves me... that sometimes.. for as long as  a thousand years,  the parish church has been cared for by our forbears.'

The audience was enthrall to her story which lead us from her disinterest in churches when attending services in All Saints church, Farnborough in Berkshire which she described as  

'dull inside and the Sunday services were interminable . I used to turn out the rim of my black fur bonnet and retreat inside it.'

... to the first time a church grabbed her attention this was the 'plain boxy church' of St John the Baptist, Shobdon. Candida described how when she walked in...

'I thought I’d gone to heaven... It was like the most extravagantly glamorous drawing room I’d ever seen…… Strawberry hill gothic to the hilt ….like a wedding cake and with  crimson cushions  on all the pews .'

Candida described how she loves to travel by horseback visiting 'Unwrecked England' 

'Over the decades I must have travelled three thousand miles… criss crossing England for weeks at a time…. along tracks and lanes and occasional bits of main road.. I love the feeling of being immersed in the landscape ….it’s a way of anchoring myself to England'

Guests at the lecture were privilaged enough to be taken on a journey through the author's eyes of some of her  favourite churches across England including 

'the little norman church of Saint Andrews at Winterbourne. Tomson. Made of the local brownstone rubble and flint it looked a bit like a tug boat stranded on the edge of the farmyard... 

It moved me more than almost any other church I had ever been in…

 ... Saint Andrews is the sort of place  that makes you believe in God, if you are so inclined.'

We are very grateful to Candida Lycett Green our Vice President for agreeing to present our 5th annual lecture and to all of those who joined us.

We will be uploading more information about the author's journey across England and the churches that have moved her on the plan your day out section of this website soon. 

Find out more about Candida Lycett Green