Hidden Treasures in the Tower Base

IMG_4941Whenever the builders are in there is inevitably some disruption. We have the decorators in Peterborough Parish Church at the moment but there are spin off benefits. It has given me the opportunity to take a closer look at details not often seen in close proximity; in some cases to realise they are there at all. Below is a selection of photographs taken from scaling the scaffolding in the tower base last week and it has been a revelation.

In two of the corners, high up just beneath the ceiling to the tower base there are two carvings. The stones in the other corners seem to have lost their detail. Given the subject of two of these – a face and what looks like an ox – I wonder if these were symbols of the four gospels: Matthew – Man/Face, Mark – Lion (lost), Luke – Ox, John – Eagle (lost).


Stone carving of a face just below the ceiling.


Stone carving just below the ceiling – ox?

In the centre of the ceiling are these fine oak carvings representing the four gospels


Matthew – Man


Mark – Lion


Luke – Ox


John – Eagle

The quality of the stained glass window is very fine. It represents scenes from the Book of Revelation, with Christ in Majesty in the centre. Angels proclaim Holy, Holy, Holy and the book is depicted with it’s seven seals.


Christ in Majesty with the book with seven seals (Revelation 5)


Angel carrying Sanctus banner – Revelation 4:8


Angel carrying banner – from Revelation 4:8



Revelation 1:8


Revelation Chapter 1 verse 8


Fortunately the Sunday School don’t seem to have noticed the scary image of a skull underneath Christ’s feet in the central picture (though some of them may like it!).


Along the bottom of the window are the four symbols of the gospels, also the four living creatures mentioned in the book of Revelation 4:6-7. “The first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.” This reflects the Old Testament book of Ezekiel 1:10.



Above the central image of Christ in Majesty, sitting on the throne, are these two angels.

On the left, this figure is one of the great multitude from every nation, tribe and language, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9). They have triumphed over martyrdom (Revelation 7:13-14). Revelation for all its strange allusions and apocalyptic imagery is a book of hope and ultimately salvation.


One of the multitude carry palm branches

The view up the nave from the temporary scaffolding

IMG_4935 IMG_4937

About Revd Canon Ian Black

Ian is Vicar of Peterborough and Canon Residentiary of Peterborough Cathedral in the Church of England Diocese of Peterborough. He served as Rural Dean of Peterborough for 5 years. Prior to moving to Peterborough, Ian was in Leeds for 10 years in Leeds, as Vicar of Whitkirk and as a member of the Chapter of Ripon Cathedral. He has also worked in Kent in Maidstone and as priest-in-charge of a group of parishes 10 miles north west of Canterbury. He was a Minor Canon of Canterbury Cathedral, a prison chaplain and Assistant Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Canterbury. Prior to ordination Ian had a career in tax, both with the Inland Revenue as a PAYE Auditor and a firm of Chartered Accountants as a Tax Accountant. Ian was born and grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon and is a former head chorister at Shakespeare's Church - Holy Trinity. He studied in Canterbury, Lincoln Theological College and has a Master of Divinity degree from Nottingham University. He is married with two sons. Publications include three books of prayers: Prayers for all occasions (SPCK 2011), Intercessions for Years A, B & C (SPCK 2009) and Intercessions for the Calendar of Saints and Holy Days (SPCK 2005). His most recent book, 'Follow me: living the sayings of Jesus', was published by Sacristy Press in 2017. There is a hymn based on this 'Christ the Saviour'. He has been writing online since the mid 1990s. Ian is a keen photographer and these frequently appear in his posts and on social media.
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1 Response to Hidden Treasures in the Tower Base

  1. Stunning photos Ian. The stained glass and wood work is beautiful close up.


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