Note: There are many different ways of transcribing Russian words and names into the Western alphabet. For example:
Alexei may be spelt Alexey, Alexi, Alexii, Alexios, Alexius, Alexy, Alexiy, Akexis, Aleksey, Aleksi.
Sergey may be spelt Sergei, Serge, Sergios, Sergius, Serguei, Sergii
I have not myself settled on any given principle and in what follows transcriptions will vary according to the different sources I am using.
100 YARS OF THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE
The centenary of the Bolshevik revolution is also the centenary of the institution of the Moscow patriarchate. The Bolshevik seizure of power took place on October 25th (November 7th) 1917 (1) and the church council that was meeting in Moscow at the time voted to ‘restore’ the patriarchate two days later on October 27th (November 9th), the day the Kremlin fell to the Bolshevik forces. The actual choice of patriarch took place on November 4th (17th). The choice fell on Tikhon (Belavin) (2), Metropolitan of Moscow. Actually Tikhon had only recently become Metropolitan of Moscow earlier in the year when, in the mood of the February (March) Revolution, Makary, Metropolitan of Moscow and Pitrim, Metropolitan of Petrograd (3) – both appointed by the Tsar under the influence of Grigoriy Rasputin – were deposed by ‘diocesan assemblies’ of local clergy and laity.
(1) I am trying to observe the convention by which both Julian and Gregorian calendar dates are given until 14th February 1918, when the new government formally adopted the Gregorian calendar.
(2) I am trying to observe the convention by which the family names of monastics are put in brackets. Monastics in principle have rejected their family connections. In the Orthodox Church all the Bishops are chosen from among those priests who have taken monastic vows.
(3) St Petersburg became ‘Petrograd’ during the war for much the same reason that the Saxe-Coburg family became the Windsors.
THE FIRST MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE
A patriarchate of Moscow had been instituted in 1589, under the Tsar Theodore, son of Ivan IV (‘the Terrible’). As the institution of the patriarchate in 1917 was immediately followed by the long battle with the Soviet government, a period of intense persecution, so the institution of the patriarchate in 1589 was soon followed by the ‘time of troubles’ – the Polish and Swedish invasions of the early seventeenth century which eventually resulted in the establishment of the Romanov dynasty.
The period of the seventeenth century patriarchate, even after the Polish invasion, was turbulent, marked by the violent schism with the ‘Old Believers’ or ‘Old Ritualists’ and by the claims of some of the patriarchs, notably Filaret (1619-1933), Nikon (1652-1658, but only replaced in 1667) and Adrian (1690-1700) to a form of co-sovereignty with the Tsar. (4) Indeed something of the kind may be implicit in the title ‘patriarch’. On the one hand it suggests that the Church is independent of any other patriarchates – most particularly the Patriarchate of Constantinople with its claim to be the ‘ecumenical’ (by implication universal) patriarchate. Russia, or Rus’, centred at the time in Kiev, was received into Orthodoxy under the aegis of Constantinople in 988 but it had been de facto if not de jure independent since Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
(4) Filaret’s claim was especially strong since he was actually the father of the first Romanov Tsar, Mikhail. He had been forcibly tonsured and imprisoned in a monastery under Boris Godunov. According to the Wikipedia account: ‘From 1619 to 1633 there were two actual sovereigns, Tsar Michael and his father, the most holy Patriarch Filaret. Theoretically they were co-regents but Filaret frequently transacted affairs of state without consulting the tsar … His most important domestic measure was the chaining of the peasantry to the soil, a measure directed against the ever-increasing migration of the down-trodden serfs to the steppes, where they became freebooters instead of taxpayers.’
Patriarch Nikon with monks of the New Jerusalem Monastery, which he founded. I don’t have a source for this painting (apparently a collage).
The other role of the patriarch was to preside as a single sovereign over the Church in a given national territory but this was a role that could also be claimed by the Tsar as previously, in the case of Constantinople, it was the prerogative of the Emperor.
The patriarchate was suppressed by Peter I (‘the Great’). Initially, when Adrian, the last of the seventeenth century patriarchs, died in 1700, Peter simply declined to make the necessary arrangements for replacing him. He had only recently returned from his tour of the Netherlands and England and had been particularly impressed by conversations with Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury and one of the leading theorists of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of the Dutch William III. Peter would undoubtedly have seen parallels between the religious turbulence of England and of Russia in the seventeenth century, drawing the conclusion that the Church should not be allowed to act as a power independent of the state.
In the absence of a patriarch, Peter launched a series of measures designed to break the spirit of the Bishops. For example in 1718, following the defection of his son and heir, Alexei, to Vienna ‘All the bishops with whom Alexei had communicated in any way were brought to Petersburg. Submitted to violent torture they confessed having formed a plot to restore the old traditions in Russia upon Peter’s death. The Metropolitan of Rostov was broken on the wheel, the Metropolitan of Kiev died while being transported to Petersburg in chains, and several bishops were exiled in chains to distant monasteries.’ (5)
(5) Dmitry Pospielovsky: The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia, Crestwood NY, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998, p.110.
Finally, in 1721, Peter instituted a ‘Spiritual Regulation’ drawn up by Feofan (or Theophan) (Prokopovich), a professor in the Kiev Academy. The Kiev Academy in the seventeenth century was on the fault line between the Catholic world and the Orthodox world. On the one hand it held the line for Orthodoxy against the ‘Uniate’ tendency (churches which practised the same rites as the Orthodox churches but acknowledged the ecclesiastical sovereignty of the Pope); but on the other it adopted a very western-influenced scholastic theology, taught in Latin. Feofan himself had studied in Catholic colleges and in Rome but had turned violently anti-papist, and, by extension, strongly opposed clerical power within the Orthodox Church. According to George Florovsky: ‘Theophan wasn’t close to Protestant theology, he was totally part of it.’ (6)
(6) Georges Florovsky: Les voies de la théologíe russe, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 1991, p.134. My translation from the French, the only copy I have to hand though an English translation does exist.
Theophan Prokopovitch. All I know of the painting (all Wikipedia tells me) is that it was done in the eighteenth century but after Theophan’s death.
A CAPTIVE CHURCH
The Spiritual Regulation replaced the Patriarch with a ‘Holy Synod’ completely dominated by an ‘overprocurator’ appointed by and responsible to the Tsar. This was the system that prevailed until 1917. According to Dmitri Pospielovsky:
‘Externally, the pre-revolutionary Church appeared to be very powerful. She was the official state Church, and until 1905 other religions were legally tolerated only as faiths of national minorities. Orthodox religion was an obligatory discipline in all general schools for all pupils born of the Orthodox faith, and children born of mixed marriages in which one of the parents was Orthodox had to be baptised Orthodox … In 1914 the Orthodox Church of the empire officially had 117 million members organised into 67 dioceses with 130 bishops and 48,000 functioning parishes with a total of over 50,000 clergy of all ranks. It ran 35,000 primary schools …’ (p.20) (7)
(7) Dmitry Pospielovsky: The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 1917-1982, Volume 1, Crestwood NY, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984. This is my major source for writing this article and page references will be given in the text not in footnotes.
‘The bishops in this system, living in an external luxury, were in fact like captive birds in a golden cage: a hierarch could not leave his residence to visit peripheral parishes in his diocese without theoretically having the tsar’s and practically the overprocurator’s special permission, requested and granted via the channels of the Ruling Synod in St Petersburg. The priests were in a particularly contradictory position. On the one hand they depended for most of their livelihood on the donations of their parishioners (which in many rural areas were extremely meagre because of the poverty of many peasants) and on the harvests from the piece of land allotted to the parish which they farmed like any other peasant. On the other hand, legally and according to the oath given at the time of their ordination, they were ex officio agents of the state, required to supply the Ministry of Defence with information on prospective recruits for the army and, in theory, obliged to inform the authorities on all confessions of an anti-state nature – even though the church canons ban this on the pain of immediate defrocking. Obviously, in this constrained position the Church as an institution could offer little moral leadership to the nation.’
Konstantin Pobedonostsev (1827-1907). Photograph 1903. Pobedonostsev was Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod from 1880 until shortly before his death in 1907. He was notable as a theorist of absolute autocracy (and friend of Dostoyevsky).
‘After the nationalisation of the monastic estates by Catherine II in 1763-1764, the Church as an institution became economically poor, receiving from the state but 10 per cent of her former annual income from those properties as compensation. It was only since the 1890s that a substantial regular state subsidy to support the clergy in the poorer parishes began to be paid. By 1916 it reached 18.8 rubles – 58 million short of making the Russian clergy economically independent from their parishioners.’ (pp.19-20)
It is hardly surprising that under such circumstances a movement for reform had developed within the Church. In the aftermath of ‘Bloody Sunday’, January 1905, the event that sparked the 1905 revolt, a group of 32 priests in St Petersburg, with the approval of their Metropolitan, Antony (Vadkovsky), published a memorandum calling for the immediate convocation of a council in which all sections of the Church would be represented:
‘We must hear the voice of the Russian church, the voice of ecclesial conscience that will embrace, under its authority, pastors and flock alike. For 200 years we have no longer heard that voice. For 200 years, the Russian Church has not assembled in a local council, even though for a long time the necessity of such a council has been felt and is now urgent.’ (8)
(8) Hyacinthe Destivelle, O.P. (translated from the French by Jerry Ryan): The Moscow Council (1917-1918), University of Notre Dame Press, 2015, p.26.
The proposal had the support of Sergei Witte, President of the Committee of Ministers, Nicholas II’s most important adviser at the time, who was behind the ‘October Manifesto’, instituting the Duma and converting Russia, in theory at least, into a constitutional monarchy. In December, Nicholas asked Metropolitan Antony, together with the Metropolitans Vladimir of Moscow and Flavian of Kiev, ‘to determine the time for the convocation of this council, earnestly desired by all the faithful members of the Church’ (Destivelle, p.33).
A preconciliar commission was established which (in a report that ran to six volumes) proposed among other things the restoration of the patriarchate, working in conjunction with a council in which (albeit on a purely consultative basis) lower clergy and laity would be represented.
According to Destivelle (p.44): ‘On April 25, 1907, the Emperor ratified the commission’s decisions, the most important being the convocation of a local council of the Russian Church.’ But according to Pospielovsky (p.23): ‘these hopes and dreams … were, however, dealt a heavy blow by the refusal of Nicholas II to permit its convocation in the foreseeable future. This resolution by the Tsar was issued on April 25, 1907 …’
For the full article, please follow:
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers of Nicea (Shrewsbury) is a medieval church of the Early English style, with Tudor and modern additions and alterations. It was originally the parish church of the village of Sutton, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The manor belonged to the Wenlock Abbey as far back as the ninth century so it is highly probable that some church existed from that time and possible that it was on the site of the present church. The church fell into disuse in the 19th century and was virtually unused in the 20th until it was bought by the Orthodox community in 1994. It has been extensively restored since.
The Church Building
As you approach the church from the gate into the field what you see is the red brick west wall with the medieval door and a gothic style wooden window. This wall was built in 1702. The bell cote is modern and replaces the original, a painting of which may be seen inside the church. At the ends of the stone walls on either side you will notice evidence of the continuation of the church particularly a door jamb on the north side. The north, south and east walls are medieval and were built in at least three stages. If you look at the south wall you will see that there is a distinct line in the stonework just below the dressed stone window sills. This is a ‘setting-out’ line and below the line the stonework is entirely composed of red sandstone. Above the line however the stone is both red sandstone and buff coloured Grinshill stone. (This feature is equally observable in both the north and the east walls). This suggests that these walls were built in two distinct stages. This might imply that the wall below the setting-out line is older, perhaps much older, than the wall above the setting-out line. It is not now possible to know. What we can do is to date the higher part of the walls by the thin lancet windows to the Early English period: late 12th to early 13th century. Notice that above the windows there are courses of later dressed Grinshill stone. These date from the Tudor restoration of the building in about 1545.
The ChurchWe know that by 1538 the church was in poor repair. We discovered this when the wall paintings were first identified (1996) and it was observed that there were marks of water running down the face of the painting of Thomas Ã Becket. All images of this type had to be covered with lime wash or destroyed in 1538 on the orders of King Henry VIII. Assuming that this happened in our case it implies that water was pouring down the painting before it was covered – suggesting that there were serious holes in the roof.
From recent (2010) geophysical archaeological surveys we now know that originally the church was about three yards longer (to the west) than at present. So, enough room for a north and south door (the door jamb of the north door can still be seen) and a west wall. Perhaps this had three lancet windows to match those in the east wall. It seems likely that some time in the early 16th century this west wall collapsed and the church fell into serious disrepair. The collapse of the west wall may account for the truss that now supports the east wall. At the apex of this east wall the stonework is very thin so the restorers may have decided to support the roof with three wooden trusses: the one in the east that covers the top of the central lancet window, one in the middle and one that is encased in the brickwork in the brick west wall.
Geophysical Survey 2010We believe that soon after the Dissolution of the Monasteries the church was roofless and undergoing demolition, this is why five of the six lancet windows in the north and south walls have lost their ‘gothic tops’. However after a few years there seems to have been a change of mind and considerable repairs were initiated. The height of the north and south walls were restored and the roof was renewed. The west wall is rather curious. It would seem that at first this wall was a wooden frame with wattle and daub in-fill. The rest of the church (to the west) was demolished and squared off (though it is not in fact square). In 1702 the wattle and daub was replaced with brick and faced with the bricks that we see today.
Interior: Ancient features
The door is medieval. Water colours of the church in the 18th century do not show this door but it probably was recovered from use elsewhere and had originally belonged to the church.
The ancient font stands in the North West corner of the church. It is made low like this so that the candidate for baptism could climb into the font. It therefore is made for a time when adults or children – rather than babies – were being regularly baptised. This would put its date around the time of King Alfred – circa 900 A.D.
Lancet windows. These are typical of the Early English style. Long, thin but with pointed rather that rounded tops. Only the window in the north east corner and those in the east wall have retained their original arches. It is suggested that the reason for these narrow windows is that they were a security feature – they were too thin for anybody to climb through.
The central truss is Tudor work and is considered to be very fine. Originally it seems to have been painted a grey green. The roof that you see is almost entirely new but notice that some of the original purlins remain – they are significantly smaller than the modern ones.
Niches. On either side of the central lancet in the east wall there are two crudely cut niches. These were for statues and are of considerable interest. They appear to have had three manifestations. Originally their bases were in line and about six inches above the window reveal sill. Later the bases were raised about 15 inches bringing them in line with bottom of the east window – and the sill at this point was blocked up as well. Later still they were bricked in entirely and cemented over. When the church was restored these developments were removed. A reasonable conjecture as to why these developments took place is as follows.
- When the church was built as we have it, the floor of the sanctuary was significantly lower than at present and the altar was free-standing. The statues then stood in their niches with no connection to the altar. Later on in the 15th century liturgical fashion changed and the altar was pushed back against the wall and raised on steps and surrounded on three sides by curtains – the normal practice in England in the early sixteenth century. The niches were then raised and the statues stood at the corners of the altar. However what we can be sure of is that the statues stood out from the niches. The one to the south is significantly taller than the other. Who were the saints placed in the niches? Who can now say? But the Virgin Mary in one and St Milburga, who was probably the original patron of the church in the other, seems a reasonable guess. At the Reformation the statues were destroyed and the niches blocked up.
From the central lancet widows all around the eastern half of the church you will notice that the walls are painted with red and ochre designs. For most of this area the designs consist of tendrils with small stencilled flowers. These are medieval wall paintings that were discovered during the restoration of the church in 1996. On the north wall there is a figurative painting showing the assassination of Thomas Ã Becket the archbishop of Canterbury. He was murdered for political reasons in Canterbury cathedral in 1170 by four knights attendant on King Henry II. The Pope declared him a martyr saint soon afterwards and a considerable cult developed with pilgrimages to his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. We do not know why this subject should have been chosen for our church. One suggestion is that there was local interest in Thomas because Shrewsbury Abbey had numerous important relics associated with him. Although our painting has lost a great deal of paint and its original lustre, it is still possible to make out the most significant features.
Thomas Ã Becket
- We see four knights in armour. They have plate armour covering their arms and legs, bascinet helmets (two with visors raised). Protecting their bodies are brigandines. Thomas kneels before the altar and his chaplain stands to the right of the picture holding Thomas’s archiepiscopal cross. One of the knights has struck the fatal blow that killed Thomas by removing the top of his skull. His cross has been cut in two by the blow from the sword.Experts date these paintings to about five years either side of 1380 because of the style of one of the knights’ gauntlets. This is of the ‘hour glass’ type. The brigandines suggest a slightly later date. So we have here depicted four men-at-arms in armour of exactly the type that would have been worn at the battle of Shrewsbury (1403).
The wall paintings are of considerable interest and historic importance. First of all they are a complete scheme, which may in fact be unique, for in most churches there are succeeding layers of paintings as they were renewed over the years. Second the subject of the martyrdom of Thomas Ã Becket is unusual and nowhere has the cross been cut as it is here. This is the oldest figurative painting in Shrewsbury. Originally the painting would have been very brightly coloured.
Modern Features of the Church
The most striking modern feature in the church is the new icon- screen. These are present in all Orthodox churches. They serve to join the things of God, behind the screen, with the people in front of the screen. They normally have central doors, only used during the services and two doors on either side for normal access. Our screen was carved and built by a member of the congregation, Aidan Hart, using materials found in the church when we bought it, particularly the oak joists supporting the floor and parts of some of the dilapidated pews. The screen is thus made of English oak, and follows the design of many Early English rood screens but the carving is in the Byzantine style, reflecting both the ancient fabric and the traditions of the Orthodox Church.
The hand painted icons are also painted by Aidan Hart. In the lower tier from left to right there are:
- The Holy Fathers of the First Oecumenical Council (the patrons of our community)
- St Michael on the deacon’s door
- The Theotokos (Virgin Mary)
- The Royal doors with the Annunciation above and Sts John Chrysostom and Basil below
- Christ the Pantocrator (ruler of all)
- St Stephen (on the deacon’s door)
- St John the BaptistIn the upper tier there are (L-R):
- The Nativity of Christ (Christmas)
- The Baptism of Christ
- The Communion of the Apostles
- The Anastasis (Resurrection)
- The Transfiguration of Christ
IconostasisThese icons are all of the middle Byzantine style found in the 11th century churches of Daphne and Osios Loukas in Greece. This style is serene, confident and optimistic, characteristics so badly needed in our contemporary society but typical of the Orthodox Church today.
The Holy Table is carved in a Byzantine style from three different types of English stone. The design is based on a Holy Table in a Byzantine church in Ravenna.
You will also notice the modern gallery which runs across the church. This serves two functions: to hold the walls together and to provide space used by the choir during services and various other activities. Notice the painting underneath the gallery on the ceiling. This shows a canopy with the cross between the symbols for the four Evangelists. An eagle for St John, an angel for St Matthew, a lion for St Mark and a bull for St Luke. This was painted by a member of the congregation, Derek Simons.
Other icons. Above the bishop’s throne there is a Greek icon showing Christ in Bishop’s vestments. This subject is normally placed near the throne. On the back wall there is a large icon of St Ninian one of the earliest British saints associated with the Lake District and South West Scotland. On one of the window sills is an icon of the five British saints most closely related to the local area:
- St Teon – the last Archbishop of London
- St Tysilio said to have been born in Pengwern thought to be the early name for Shrewsbury. He became a missionary in Wales but fled to Brittany during the outbreak of plague in 545.
- St Llywelyn
- St Teon’s grandson
- St Gwenerth – these last three started a monastery at Welshpool, and their mission helped convert mid Wales particularly through the work of their disciples St Gwyddfarch who was abbot of the monastery in Meifod and subsequently lived as a hermit on the hill to the South West of that place.Other interesting icons are the icon of St Winifride whose shrine was in Shrewsbury Abbey, St Milburgha of Much Wenlock, and St Melangell from Pennant Melangell. The icon of the Theotokos in the black and gold ornate frame is the oldest in the church. It is Serbian of the early 19th century and donated to the church by the internationally noted local flower arranger Howard Franklin.
History Of The Church
We do not know when Christianity arrived in Shropshire. Tradition tells us that St Simon the Zealot came to Britain soon after the arrival of the Roman Legions (43 AD) but his activities are related to Yorkshire. What we do know however is that the Romans established a very substantial city about five miles East of Shrewsbury at what is now called Wroxeter. It was called Viroconium Cornovii and was the fourth largest city in Britain. The words ‘Wroxeter’ and ‘Wrekin’ (the hill that dominates East Shropshire) are directly derived from Viroconium. Probably it was pronounced ‘Wrekonium’.
With the withdrawal of the legions at the beginning of the fifth century a period of considerable political instability followed. However Viroconium continued to flourish for some time. For instance St Germanus of Auxerre came to Britain to counter the teachings of the heretic Pelagius in 429 and again in 447. He certainly visited Viroconium. Indeed it seems to have been the base for his mission into what is now mid and north Wales. The last British Archbishop of London, Theonas (Teon) fled to Viroconium in 586 when London fell to the pagan Saxons. The range of hills known now as the Stiperstones is called, in Welsh, Carneddi Teon in memory of him.
There have been important excavations at Wroxeter where a bath house has been revealed. Perhaps more interestingly, it is now known that the city was extensively re-planned in the 5th century and a building has been discovered which some suggest was the house of the bishops of Viroconium. At some point the city was abandoned. Two of the very earliest churches in Britain exist close to Viroconium: St Andrew, Wroxeter and St Eata, Atcham, both dating to at least the 7th century. So as the British migrated westward, abandoning Viroconium, the English moved behind them, being converted in due course following the missionary drive of St Oswald and St Aidan and then St Chad. It was following this period that a monastery for nuns was established at Much Wenlock by St Milburga around 670. The monastery quickly attracted substantial endowments and the land which is now the parish of Sutton was part of that endowment. It is from this time that Sutton (which means ‘South Town’) begins to be mentioned in recorded history. The church itself may be significantly older however. From excavations in the 1970’s we know that Sutton was occupied from prehistoric times and right through the Romano-British period. Amongst a number of interesting finds was a Neolithic watercourse which ran to a stone lined basin a few yards South East of Sutton church. It is suggested that this may have been a pagan site, Christianised to become a baptistery. This might account for the siting of our church.
The Middle Ages
Sutton is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as belonging to St Milburga (i.e. Wenlock Priory) “In Shrewsbury Hundred … The Church itself held and holds Sutton. 1 hide, 8 men both free men and villagers, with 4 ploughs. The value was 12s; now 16s.”
The manor of Sutton remained in the ownership of the monastery at Much Wenlock until the Hundred Years war when it passed to Shrewsbury Abbey. It is unthinkable that any monastery would own a manor without erecting some kind of church for the enlightenment of their tenants and we may assume this to be the case in Sutton. That it was not mentioned in the Doomsday Book is not odd. Only half of the known Saxon churches are mentioned, simply because the others were not reckoned to have a taxable value. The church was probably a very simple wooden building and about all we have to show for this period is the ancient stone font.
Between 1054 and 1204 the Western half of what had been the Roman Empire split away from the Orthodox Church in the East and became Roman Catholic. This event is referred to as “The Great Schism” and it was towards the end of this period, about 1200, that the church that we now see was built. The present church building was certainly built before 1278 because it is recorded in an inquisition document of that year as St Milburga’s. In 1535 the rent from the manor was worth £11 7s 0d to Wenlock Priory. The tithes of Sutton, paid to the vicar of Much Wenlock were worth £3 per annum. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Sutton along with a number of other monastic properties was bought by James Leveson, a Wolverhampton wool merchant, for £2,725 – a vast amount of money. Exactly who was looking after Sutton is not clear but the Rector was also Vicar of Much Wenlock, one Thomas Butler. This man, a University graduate, kept a journal of events in the parish which survived until 1859 when it was burnt in the fire at Wynnstay but not before it had been copied. Amongst the items in the journal is the following:-
“1547 Nov 7th The bones of the blessed virgin Milburga (with four images from neighbouring villages) were burnt at the churchyard entrance.” (Perhaps one of these images was one that stood in a niche in the East wall of Sutton church).
With the Reformation came another change of Faith for the worshippers in our church – Protestantism (Anglicanism). Judging by nineteenth and twentieth century histories of the period it could be thought that the English were eager and willing to accept the Reformation, the Dissolution of the monasteries and the Protestant faith. In fact this was very far from the truth, the changes were resented and unpopular and there was widespread resistance. In fact Protestantism was imposed by force: fines, imprisonment and, for some, the executioner’s axe. Some of this may be gleaned from Thomas Butler’s journal.
- “1553 July 22nd at Bridgnorth in the fair there was proclaimed Lady Mary Queen of England… the people made great joy … lauding thanking and praising God Almighty … and making bonfires in every street … a triumphal solemnity made in Shrewsbury and also in this borough of Much Wenlock.
- 1553 Sept 3rd I, Thomas Butler, vicar celebrated divine services and also the mass in Latin words according to the old custom … by authority of the most excellent virgin Queen Mary.
- 1558 Nov 17th To be had in remembrance that this day departed by death the noble Queen Marie … and the same day was Elizabeth proclaimed queen in London.
- 1559 June 25th It is to be had in remembrance that the celebration of the divine service in the English tongue was begun this day.”During this Anglican period Sutton church was repaired from time to time, particularly at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. However the church was used very seldom. The last recorded burial was in 1857, the last baptism in 1868 and the last marriage in 1870. The furnishings were stripped out, services were held less and less often until by 1948 it became a farmer’s store. It was in this condition when it was bought back by its original owners, the Orthodox Church, for £50. It was in a state of very serious disrepair needing re-roofing, major support to the walls, and re-flooring. All the major work has now been completed.
 Brigandine. These were typically padded sleeveless jackets which had strips of plate armour riveted to the padding on the inside. They were developed on the continent and were adopted in England towards the end of the 14th century. They became very popular in the 15th century.
 There is another medieval painting in Shrewsbury of the Last Supper in the King’s Head pub in Mardol. It is later than ours.
 Hide: a land unit reckoned at 120 acres.
Saint Llawddog , or Lleuddad , ( fl. 600? ), is said to have been the son of Dingad ab Nudd Hael , king of Bryn Buga (i.e. Usk ), and Tefrian or Tonwy , daughter of Lleuddyn Lwyddog . Few details are known about his life, but tradition maintains that he worked many miracles. He appears to have forsaken his father’s kingdom in order to live the life of a religious recluse with his brother BAGLAN in Caernarvonshire . His later years are linked with the isle of Bardsey . He was chosen abbot of the island’s religious community, and is said to have ended his days there. A Welsh ‘ Life of S. Llawddog ’ is preserved in National Library of Wales (late 16th cent.). The churches of Cenarth, Penboyr, Llanllawddog in Carmarthenshire and Cilgerran in Pembrokeshire were all originally dedicated to Llawddog. His memory is also perpetuated in the local topography of the places so named, in the form Lleuddad, in parts of the Llŷn peninsula . His feast-day is variously given as 15 Jan., 21 Jan. or 10 Aug.
The local parish Church is dedicated to Saint Llawddog. Although the present building is relatively modern, it is on an important ancient site, and was the “bishop house” of the Cantref of Emlyn.
Within the Churchyard is a stone with Ogam Scrip, still visible and a stone’s thow away on the south side of the river is the Holy Well of St Llawddog.