Tuesday, 27 May 2014
DUKE OF KENT TO VISIT PUGIN’S CHURCH OF ST AUGUSTINE, RAMSGATE
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent will be visiting St Augustine’s Church, Ramsgate, on Tuesday 27th May. St Augustine’s is one of the principle attractions in Ramsgate: it is one of the most important architectural buildings in the country as the centre of Gothic Revival, and the burial place of the architect famous for his work on the Houses of Parliament, Augustus Pugin.
The Duke will be introduced to the Rector, Fr Marcus Holden, who will show him around the site and tell him about the plans for the new Education, Research, and Visitor Centre, for which the Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded a development grant of £82,000.
St Augustine’s is fundraising to match fund an HLF grant totalling £800,000. They are progressing towards their target of £80,000.
Also presented to The Duke will be Paul Sharrock, the Architect and Project Manager, from Thomas Ford and Partners, and John Coverdale, the Centre Manager at St Augustine’s. Volunteers who keep the church open will meet The Duke informally as he is shown around the site.
His Royal Highness will be given a gift of publications and a DVD which explain the national stories of architecture, history, and religion told at St Augustine’s.
27th May is a significant day for St Augustine’s as it is the feast day of St Augustine, commemorating the day that he died in 604. St. Augustine arrived on Thanet in 597 on a mission to spread Christianity to England. The success of his mission has helped to form the modern world.
On 26th May, the day before The Duke’s visit, a unique new icon of St Augustine will be blessed and processed, and in the evening of 27th there will be a special Mass for the feast celebrated by Fr Paul Mason, Episcopal Vicar for Kent.
The Duke of Kent is undertaking a series of engagements in Thanet on 27th May. He will open the Ramsgate Tunnels in the morning, and afterwards will visit Thanet Earth near Birchington. St Augustine’s celebrates the Victorian Gothic Revival heritage which reshaped cityscapes around the world, and also St Augustine who brought Christianity to England which is still changing cultures in Britain and around the world.
The site includes Pugin’s original schoolroom, cloisters, sacristy, and library room, as well as the church, and the plans are to create an Education, Research, and Visitor Centre to display and teach about Pugin, his legacy, his life, as well as St Augustine and his history and heritage.
Augustus Pugin built St Augustine’s “close to the spot where blessed Austin landed” as his ideal vision of a church and called it “my own child.” Pugin is buried in the church along with members of his family.
The church was dedicated as the shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury in 2012 by Archbishop Peter Smith of the Archdiocese of Southwark. It has become a place of popular pilgrimage.