Thursday, 22 March 2012

St Andrew the Great, Cambridge

Nestled in front of the Lion Yard shopping centre sits St Andrew and, to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's a rather good Victorian church but feels a bit clinical and the location is horrid. The church was open but a toddler session was ongoing so I didn't get inside which is a shame as I would have liked to have seen the Cook memorial and the iron piers.

Pevsner says: ST ANDREW THE GREAT, St Andrew Street: 1842-3 by Ambrose Poynter who built also Christ Church, Newmarket Road, and St Paul, Hills Road. St Andrew is an eminently characteristic example of its date, with very tall octagonal cast-iron piers supporting four-centred arches high up, and with timber galleries between the piers on N, S, and W. No clerestory. - SCULPTURE. A few CI3 fragments from Barnwell Priory, a crocket capital, part of an arch or rib. - PLATE. Chalice with Cover Paten; inscribed 1569. Mark on the chalice IV over a heart, in a shield. - Flagon and Almsdish, 1732-3. Maker’s mark RB.  - Several pieces of 1845.

St Andrew the Great (2)

The church of St Andrew the Great is the third that has faced Christ’s College in the last three centuries. In its walls are a few stones from Barnwell Priory, but the interest of the church is chiefly in a monument on the wall in honour of a man to whom every English boy should raise his cap. On this monument are the names of Captain Cook, his wife, and their six children, two of whom sleep with their mother in the middle aisle of the church. Captain Cook’s wife, who set up this monument, was surely as lonely a mother as children ever had. She was Elizabeth Batts when she stood as a girl on the banks of the Thames to welcome back the victors from the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe had died but James Cook came back, and in three years he was married to Elizabeth Batts. They had six children, of whom three died as babies. When Captain Cook returned from his second voyage round the world his two eldest boys, James and Nathaniel, were longing to join the navy, and did so; just before he set out again the little baby Hugh was born. He was all Elizabeth had to comfort her when Captain Cook had sailed again; three babies had died, two boys were at sea, and little Hugh was growing up. It was in 1776 that they said Goodbye, but it was not till 1780 that news came to England of Captain C0ok’s death 20 months before. News travelled slowly then. The stricken Elizabeth was to survive him for 56 years, years of great sorrow to her, for she outlived all her children. Within 16 years of their father’s death his three sons died, and their mother was to be alone for 40 years. Nathaniel was lost serving as a middy in the West Indies in the same month as the news of the death of his father came. Hugh was growing up as a scholar at Christ’s College, and on the anniversary of her wedding this young scholar died. His mother and his brother James came to his funeral in St Andrew’s, and here within another week or two the mother was again, this time alone, laying James beside Hugh, for he had been drowned in a high sea. The poor mother set up this memorial, with a relief of the globe and the names of all her children on it, and for 40 years more she lived alone and was then laid to rest with these two boys, she being 94 years old.

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