Above: The `Anker' spy hole in the Rochester Cathedral fresco
Right: An actual `squint' at a Durham church
© Rochester Cathedral / Peter Martin / Abracadabra Photography
`I SPY' ORIGINS|
Being a student of archaeology I read with interest
the article on the Rochester Cathedral fresco (MQ,
Issue No. 11) by the Russian artist Sergei Fyodorov.
He incorporated into his work `I Spy'
which your article illustrated. This is
known as a `squint' and is showing
a person known as an Anchorite or
Anker, looking out on the religious
service going on.
Anyone a monk, nun or layman
could become an Anchorite or Anker,
provided they satisfied their Bishop
that they understood the gravity of
They were usually enclosed for life
at a ceremony containing elements of
the burial service, and were sometimes
interred in the room where they
Their main occupations were prayer
and contemplation, and some even took
part in the services in the church
through the small window the `squint'.
Being so bricked up, all their food
and needs were passed through a
small hatch to them. All but their waste,
dirty washing, refuse and `slops' were
likewise passed out the same way.
Our church of St Mary and St Cuthbert
at Chester-le-Street, Durham, has such
an Anchorite in an Anker's house, which
is now part of the church. |
The church was founded in 883
AD by Bishop Eardulf and the monks
who carried the body of St Cuthbert
along with his sacred relics, had fled
from Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island
following a Danish Viking invasion
in 875 AD.
SY Viking memories
I refer to two letters (MQ, Issue No. 8) and another (Issue
No. 9) regarding the SY Viking. My father served on
her and I still have letters he sent to my mother from the ship
when in Palmers Dock, Hepburn-on-Tyne while doing the Norwegian
Then came the Great War, and my
father, Chief Engineer, Henry Pollard
RNR joined the White Star Line's
HMS Viknor, a merchant cruiser, on
12 December 1914.
She was sunk by enemy action early in
1915 and my father was drowned at sea, his
first voyage on her. Shortly after receiving
the telegram notifying my mother of her
loss, she gave birth to me and died, leaving
me an orphan.
H J Rogers,
Victory for Warwickshire Masons
In January 2003 Coventry City Council
introduced a requirement for relevant
employees to register their membership
of Freemasonry. The register was open
to inspection by elected members and
Chief Officers. Strong protests were made
by the Province of Warwickshire about this
blatant act of discrimination with demands
that the requirement be removed.
Unexpectedly, and without notice to the
Masonic authorities, the Council's Standards
Committee, which is headed by a retired
judge, at a meeting in August 2004 removed
all overt references to Freemasonry in the
staff Code of Conduct and the Council
adopted the change in September.
Michael Price, Provincial Grand Master
for Warwickshire, said: "We are pleased
that the council has at last acceded to our
request. Its decision recognises that it is
not appropriate to single out Freemasons
for treatment of that nature."
Warwickshire Freemasons are delighted
with the outcome following months of
correspondence with the council and letters
to the local press.
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