St Augustine’s week 2013 promises more visitors to Pugin’s church of St Augustine in Ramsgate


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Friends of St Augustine’s in Ramsgate are expecting a record number of visitors to their church for this year’s St Augustine’s week, now in its third year.  This year’s programme includes music, a play, readings, lectures and tours and will commence this Saturday, 18th May and conclude on the feast day of St Augustine of England, Monday 27th May.  The church, where its famous architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin is buried, will be open every day during the week from 10am until 4pm.

Chairman of Friends of St Augustine’s and custodian of the church, Fr. Marcus Holden, is optimistic about the numbers of people planning to come to Ramsgate for St Augustine’s week.  “I am delighted by the response so far.  We have had many more people contacting us to say they will visit and take part in events we have planned for this year’s St Augustine’s week.”

Apart from the many pilgrims who will travel to Ramsgate during the course of the week, St Augustines are expecting a significant increase in the number of local and cultural visitors who want to learn more about the church, St Augustine’s landing in 597AD and its significance, and to find out more about the church’s famous architect, Pugin.  Fr. Marcus Holden went on to say “St Augustine’s is also a place of learning as well as being a church.  Visitors will be able to find out more about its history and significance, but many will visit because it is such a magnificent church to come into and to be able to enjoy its fine features and atmosphere.

He added “St Augustine’s week will help to attract visitors from far and wide to Ramsgate, but we hope it will also attract local families and people of all age groups to look in and see this part of Ramsgate’s heritage for themselves.”

A full programme for the week is available on the Friends of St Augustine’s website

www.augustinefriends.co.uk

Or is available from the local tourist offices, St Augustine’s church in St Augustine’s Road, Ramsgate or from St Ethelbert’s church in Hereson Road, Ramsgate.

Admission to the church is free.

The programme for St Augustine’s week is attached.

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website: www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

Augustus Welby Nortmore Pugin had his own church of St Augustine built next to his home, the Grange. He and his family are buried in the Church.  Pugin designed many churches across the Country and abroad.  He is most famously known for his designs for the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011 with the setting up of Friends of St Augustine’s.  Last year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth.  This year, Friends of St Augustine’s is celebrating Pugin’s contribution to education, skills and learning

For further information or comment please contact Fr. Marcus Holden on 07738 153081

St Augustine’s church, Ramsgate marks end of Pugin bi-centenary celebrations

5th March 2013

St Augustine’s Ramsgate celebrates success of Pugin bi-centenary and newest Catholic Shrine

St Augustine’s church, Ramsgate has celebrated the end of the Augustine Welby Northmore Pugin bi-centenary with a special mass to celebrate his life and to mark the first anniversary of the church becoming a shrine to St Augustine who landed in Thanet in 597 AD

The Mass, celebrating the life of Pugin, was held last Friday.  The congregation packed into the church to hear the visiting chief celebrant, Abbot Cuthbert Brogan, talk about the life of Pugin and the significance of his work here in Ramsgate and across many countries.  Pugin’s Great Great Grandson, Robert Pugin Purcell gave the reading and later along with Abbot Cuthbert carried out the opening ceremony of the church’s Cloister Garden which had been reset and restored after years of being overgrown and in a state of disrepair.

During the Mass a very special event took place when Abbot Cuthbert placed a relic of Pope Gregory the Great in the Pugin chapel.  The relic of the Pope who was known to have sent Augustine to evangelise England in 597 AD had been acquired from Rome.  Gregory the Great is most famously credited with the remark before he was Pope when he was presented with some slaves in the market-place in Rome from England.  On being told they were Angles, he is understood to have said “not angles, but angels.”

A reception was held afterwards in Pugin’s Cartoon room in the grounds of the Grange.   Commenting on the event, Robert Pugin Purcell said that he was delighted by this tribute to Pugin .  “If my Gt Gt Gandfather could have witnessed the events in his church today, he would have been delighted.”

Fr Marcus Holden, Parish Priest and Custodian of the church said. “It has been a wonderful celebration this evening – one of many enjoyable and successful events over the last year marking the bi-centenary of Pugin’s birth and to celecbrate the first anniversary of the church becoming a shrine for St Augustine”.

He went on to day.  “This celebration has capped off a fine year for the Friends of St Augustine’s. I have been particularly pleased how so many people and organisations from Ramsgate, Thanet and from much further afield representing so many interests, have visited Pugin’s church for the first time.  I am even more pleased that since we have opened our doors to everyone we have seen a significant interest in the numbers of tourist visitors and members of the general public who are coming to Ramsgate to see Pugin’s great work and to enjoy our church.”

On the progress of the Restoration work, Fr Marcus went on to say “Slowly but surely we are restoring this fine church built by Pugin, but we still have some way to go.  We invite everyone to come along and visit the church – there is no charge to enter and we want to listen to visitors’ views about the church and to make it as welcoming as possible.  It is important that the church is seen as one the great historic attractions in Thanet as well as a place of special worship.  It is there for everyone to enjoy.

Friends of Pugin’s St Augustine’s church will shortly be publishing its new programme of activity – details will appear on its website www.augustinefriends.co.uk.  Opening times may also be found on the website.

Notes for editors:

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1 March 1812 – 14 September 1852) was Britain’s foremost architect and designer of the nineteenth century.A family man whose faith, ideas and designs, changed the face of Victorian Britain and influenced the world.

His Gothic revival work culminated in the interior design of the Palace of Westminster and its world famous clock tower, ‘Big Ben’.  Pugin designed many churches in England, and some in Ireland and Australia and his influence is international.

St Augustine’s church is the ‘ideal church’ of Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) who constructed it between 1845-1852 next to his home ‘the Grange’ according to his ‘true principles of Christian architecture’.

 

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website:www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011 with the setting up of Friends of St Augustine’s.  This March has marked the end of the celebrations of the  200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth when his church was declared a shrine to St Augustine.

For further information or comment please contact Fr. Marcus Holden on 07738 153081

Historian, broadcaster and Politician, Dr Tristram Hunt MP is guest speaker for Friends of Pugin’s St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, regional fundraising dinner

Historian, Broadcaster and politician, Dr Tristram Hunt MP will the guest speaker at the first annual Regional Fundraising Dinner in support of the restoration of Pugin’s church of St Augustine in Ramsgate.

The dinner will also mark the end of the Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin’s biecentenary year celebrations.  The famous Victorian architect who was born in 1812 lived for many years in the Grange in Ramsgate and had built St Augustine’s church next door.  Many of his great designs were from his home in Ramsgate, including the interior of the Houses of Parliament and the famous clock tower, which houses ‘Big Ben’.  The dinner will also mark the regional launch to develop a visitor and education centre at the church in Ramsgate.

Chairman of the Friends of St Augustine, Fr Marcus Holden said “We are delighted that Dr Tristram Hunt MP has agreed to support our dinner.  He has taken such an interest in the life and times of Pugin and it is fitting that a Member of Parliament should be our guest speaker, connecting the work of Pugin in both Westminster and Thanet.

Commenting on his visit, Dr Tristram Hunt, who has presented many history programmes on television and radio, said “I am very pleased to accept the kind invitation by the Friends of St Augustine’s, to pay tribute to Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.  I am also pleased to support the Friends in their appeal to raise funds to restore the famous Victorian architect’s magnificent church in Ramsgate.”

Dr Hunt added “Pugin did much to influence Victorian attitudes towards architecture and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are testimony to his fine work.  Here in Thanet he designed many wonderful buildings – none more so than the church he is buried in – St Augustine’s, Ramsgate – it is well worth saving and it deserves support.”

Proceeds from the dinner will go towards funding the next phase of the project to restore the church, which includes plans for a visitor and education centre, promoting the work of Pugin and the history of the landing of St Augustine in Thanet in 597 AD.

Friends’ chairman, Fr Marcus Holden went on to say “We are making good progress with the restoration project, but there is still much to do.  In 2013 we will be holding a number of events aimed at gaining support for this important restoration project.  This fundraising dinner is an opportunity for supporters and those across Kent interested in the project to come together to help take the restoration of Pugin’s church of St Augustine a step further”.

The fundraising dinner will be attended by guests from across Kent and will take place at St Augustine’s in Canterbury Road, Westgate on Thursday 7th March.  There are a limited number of tickets for the dinner still available from Friends of St Augustine, 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, CT11 7DS or emailstaugustineramsgate.appeal@gmail.com

Papal Nuncio to visit St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate

13th FEBRUARY 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

St Augustine’s Ramsgate – Nuncio to Visit England’s Newest Catholic Shrine

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, will visit St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, to celebrate its first anniversary as the country’s newest Catholic Shrine.  The visit will take place on Friday, 1st March and to mark the occasion a special Mass will be held in the church at 7.00pm and all parishioners and supporters of Friends of St Augustine’s are welcome to attend.

Archbishop Mennini’s visit, which has been planned for some weeks, coincides fittingly with the end of Pugin’s bicentenary year (1812-2013).  Although not known at the time of the arrangements, the visit will take place the day after Pope Benedict XVI steps down as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Commenting on the visit, Fr. Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine’s said “This is a great honour that the Pope’s Representative to the UK should agree to come to St Augustine’s in Ramsgate.  It demonstrates the importance given by the Catholic Church to St Augustine’s in Ramsgate and England’s newest Catholic Shrine as a very special place of worship”

Commenting on the Pope’s resignation, Fr. Marcus went on to say “We were all shocked by the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation and it has taken some time to sink in.  I agree with many in the church that it is a very courageous decision which bears the characteristics of Pope Benedict XVI, courage, humility and great integrity.  He will be particularly remembered by parishioners for his visit to the UK in 2010, when many made the journey to London and elsewhere to see the Holy Father.  We now look forward to a new Pope being elected in time for Easter”

Those attending the special Mass on the 1st March at 7.00 pm are requested to arrive early as there is likely to be a big attendance

For further information or comment please contact Fr. Marcus Holden on 07738 153081

St Augustine’s Church, Ramsgate – National Appeal
07920 424990

Season of Sacred Music concerts in St Augustine’s heralded a “great success”

The programme of Sacred Music this winter season at St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate has been heralded a “Great Success”.  The Three concerts running from Late November through until Mid-December were performed by  the London based Victoria Consort on the theme of Christ’s redemption in music; the internationally recognised Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge on ‘the Light’ Seasonal Sacred Songs; and the Kent based Merry Opera Company’s Christmas Concert.

All three concerts were very well attended with a significant number of those present, making their first visit to St Augustine’s.

Chairman of the Friends of St Augustine, Fr Marcus Holden said “We were delighted by the wonderful performances by the choirs and by the amount of support we received from the local community.  A considerable number of those attending told us that this was either their first visit or had not visited for many years.  It was very pleasing to see so many people at the concerts.  We were very grateful to see so many people coming into the church.”

The concerts were part of the Friends of Pugin’s church of St Augustine’s campaign to raise funds to restore the church to its former glory.   Thanks to the many generous donations and from the grants received from English Heritage, the National Churches Trust, Friends of Kent Churches and other groups, including the support of the Pugin Society, work has started to restore the church.  Funding so far has paid for sufficient remedial work on the church to be carried out to enable St Augustine’s to extend its opening times and put on more events.

“A couple of years ago it would have been thought unthinkable to put on concerts.  The Organ was out of order and the lighting was out of order – the church was hardly usable and barely open to the public at all. Two years on, thanks to the support of the community, the many local volunteers and generous grants and donations from trusts and individuals, we have been able to put on a number of activities and events.  At the same time as a place of worship, we have increased the number of masses and services” Fr Marcus Holden said.

Looking ahead to 2013, Fr Marcus Holden said “We have made a great start on our restoration project, but we know we still have a long way to go.  We need to raise more funds if we are to complete the exterior work over the next few years as well as bringing the interior or the building back to the way Pugin had intended.  Visitor facilities are greatly needed also.

Fr Marcus Holden went on to say “We will be holding more events in 2013 – and Sacred Music will form an important part of our programme”

(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email office@augustineshrine.co.uk.  You can also visit the website: www.augustinefriends.co.uk )

Notes for Editors. Augustus Welby Nortmore Pugin had his own church of St Augustine built next to his home, The Grange. He and his family are buried in the Church.  Pugin designed many churches across the Country and abroad.  He is most famously known for his designs for the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.

The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011.  This year it coincides with the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth.