Friday, May 17, 2013

Photos of St Andrews Church in Newcastle, Maine - An Unusual Neo-gothic Style

Here are some photos St Andrew's Episcopal Church in Newcastle, Maine. It was designed  at the end of the last century by the English architect Henry Vaughan. There are many beautiful neo-gothic churches in New England, and what generally comes to my mind when I think of this style is the grand stone churches of, for example, Boston or New York. Vaughan who was English but received many of his commissions in the US design in this grand manner too. St Andrews is different from these in that it is based upon medieval wattle and daub construction, such as All Saints in Crowfield, Suffolk which dates from the 14th century. Henry Vaughan designed only one other, to my knowledge in this country, half-timbered style. This is the Catholic church in Groton, Massachusetts and is currently not used.

I love Victorian neo-gothic and do not think of it as a pale imitation of something that existed earlier. To my mind, the architects of this period, starting with figures such as Pugin, are a model of how to look back at the past work and study the principles that define it and then create original work that both evokes that period and is an authentic architectural style in its own right. As such, I always think, they provide an example of how Catholic culture could be re-established today.

(Before I go any further I must say that I am very grateful to the Rev Conner of the church who very generously took the time met me and show me around when I traveled up to Maine and for Anna Shaw a parishioner who took most of these photographs just for us.)




Detail of the exterior wall, above and below is the church in Suffolk that inspired Vaughan in his design




The recently restored reredos, above


Looking towards the back of the church