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The line between inspiration and imitation may not be a fine one. I can’t speak for you; it is for me. So when the opportunity arose to design Agincourt’s Episcopal (i.e., Anglican) church it was bound to have been influenced by the full range of my exposure to designs for late 19th century Episcopal churches around the world.

As Britons spread the “Pax Britannia” the Anglican church was part and parcel of that process. George Hersey and Phoebe Stanton, for example, each wrote excellent studies of the evolution of “high church” Anglican prototypes as a sort of corporate image for the denomination half a world away from England’s “green and pleasant land.” It was Hersey, I think, who postulated two varieties of the Gothic Revival as it found itself in places disparate from the idyllic countryside of Gloucestershire: when church-builders found themselves in heavily wooded territory, theirs was the “hyperborean” model; in areas where stone predominated, it was “speluncular”. The Gothic Revival was so adaptable that it served well in the forests of New Zealand or the plains of the Punjab. Comparatively speaking, North American was a cakewalk.

Emmanuel Chapel at Manchester-by-the-Sea was built in the 1880s as a parish church but reduced to summer chapel status in recent years. It’s charm is entrancing, a setting for Miss Marple to solve the vicar’s mysterious death from deadly nightshade. The bell cote was a less expensive substitute for a tower, and the “half timbering” may have been real, rather than more typical applique in the 1920s. And of course, no church could be complete without a lych gate defending the sacred from the profane.


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