Monday, 19 May 2014

St Richard's House, 102 Eversholt Street NW1

This surprisingly good carving is over the doorway of a dreary 1960s social housing block down the side of Euston Station. St Richard was the 13th century Bishop of Chichester who wrote the famous prayer that finishes with the lines:
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.

In fact he was the Pope's enforcer, rejecting the power of the King (Henry III) over the church, imposing celibacy on the priesthood and preaching the Crusade. To the left is his seal, Christ the Ruler of Nations with the Sword of the Spirit in his mouth and the Gospel in his hand, symbols from Revelation.
At the bottom left hand corner is a fig tree, referring to the time Richard spent living near Worthing cultivating figs while he waited for Henry III to submit to the Pope's will and give him the bishopric.
The chalice to the right is one of his miracles - once, while celebrating communion, he dropped the chalice but no wine was spilled.
At the top right is a blackbird, which is a bit gruesome: the legend goes that a student at Oxford had a pet blackbird who sang delightfully. A friend asked for the bird, but he refused to give it up. The friend came back later and cut its tongue out. When the student returned to find the bird voiceless and close to death, he prayed to St Richard and the bird burst out into glorious song.

2 comments:

Vijay Mistry said...

having lived in the area as a student for year, I was struck by this and how much Church symobolism exists in the Somerstown area. Could you prehaps direct me any further information about this specific carving and tales surrounding Somerstown

Vijay Mistry said...

could you perhaps direct me information regarding this specific carving, and the various religious symbolism in the Somerstown area.

Just a curious, as someone who once lived in nearby as a university student, and passed in everyday.

any information on the history trades 102 Eversholt street