Southwark: The 12 Candles

Southwark: The 12 Candles

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Lent Art Installation 2020 'Pilgrimage' by Michelle Rumney at Southwark Cathedral

These 12 handmade candles, as in medieval times, are the same height as the people they represent. In the 12th century, after measuring a person from head to toe with a piece of string – ‘Measuring to the Saint’ – using the string as the wick, monks would make a candle, light it and pray for the person’s eternal soul. Here Charles Farris candlemakers have helped me reinvent the practice. Lighting a candle for someone is simply a beautiful thing to do. 

Candle #1 Paul Richard McKenzie

5’9” – 175cm

Paul Richard McKenziePaul was born in Berlin: a city divided by a wall. His father was a British Army officer and, although Paul would later appreciate the benefits of a peripatetic lifestyle, the rigidity of his military upbringing never suited him. Instead, he gravitated towards his maternal grandfather, Alfred, a gentle and spiritual man who loved history and took annual ‘pilgrimages’ to Glastonbury. Navigating the divisions caused by the conflicting ideologies and personalities within his family was a constant struggle for Paul; these divisions were internalised and eventually took a toll on his mental health. In adulthood, Paul suffered with schizophrenia. As a father Paul was generous and fun, but also inconsistent and occasionally absent. Inspired by Alfred Watkins’ The Old Straight Track, Paul took his children on ‘missions’ to find historic ruins, medieval castles and Neolithic monuments, guided by OS maps specially annotated with ley lines. Paul was fascinated by the concept of ley lines: invisible threads connecting people and places, regardless of boundaries of ownership or walls, both physical and ideological.

Paul was measured shortly after he passed away by his daughter, Chloë, a medievalist who collaborated with Michelle Rumney on Re-Making Maps of the Mind: Medieval and Modern Journeys. The ideas surrounding the medieval practice of ‘measuring to the saint’ and creating a votive candle for prayer and reflection, that a single thread can create a connection between one world and the next, the living and the dead, would have interested Paul. His candle reminds us that we carry all things with us, that we are shaped by both the light and the dark.

born 25 May 1962 in Berlin, West Germany
died 30 December 2018 in Portsmouth, UK

Candle #2 Domini Anita Granger

(known as Anita)

5’4” – 163cm

“There was never a place for her in the terrible slow army of the cautious. She ran ahead, where there were no paths”                Dorothy Parker 

Anita lived her life fiercely, and delighted in taking the path less travelled despite the trials of living with Multiple Sclerosis and its frustrating restrictions on her adventures of all kinds. She adored all things gothic, and was rarely seen in anything other than striking black ensembles, accompanied by a purring black cat. Friends, family and community were a great source of enjoyment and solace to her, and later in her life she found both spiritual guidance and community through the Quakers. Being a proper Goth meant that Candles were one of her favourite things, she would have absolutely loved the idea of being represented in this way in such a historical, and atmospheric space. Incidentally, as a child, Anita and her sister Kath attended the Becket School in Nottingham, dedicated to Thomas Becket.

born 29 July 1967 in Nottingham
died 7 March 2007 in Leeds

Candle #3 Richard Edward Farmer

6” – 183cm

There is too much to say really! Dick had an extraordinary enthusiasm for life. His childhood was spent in India where his father was harbourmaster in Calcutta. When war broke out he was sent back to England to ‘safety’, and lived away from his parents for many years. This gave him a humble sense of gratitude for what he had – he never complained about anything, even when times got tough. He trained as a doctor in Cambridge and worked at Guys Hospital. He had a tremendous sense of adventure -during his military service, he volunteered to ride up into the mountains in Iraq to deliver a baby and the chieftan was so grateful, he let him stay and ride their horses. Richard had a brilliance about him – he could turn his hand to anything – he painted, he carved and he cooked a mean curry! A member of Hereford rowing club, he rowed regularly right up to the end – he so loved being on the water, on the river. And of all the things he loved, Fay, his wife, was the person who meant the world to him, the light of his life.                    Alex & Jessica xx

born 4 August 1931 near Calcutta in India
died 21 June 2012 in Hereford

Candle #4 Shirley Hunt

5’9” – 175cm

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Thich Nhat Hanh
from a walking meditation

born 22 July 1933 in Luton, Bedfordshire
died 13 October 2004 in Poole, Dorset

Candle #5  Anne Rumney

(nee Selina Agnes Annie Garner)

5’4” – 163cm

You filled my world with laughter, warmth and joy. 

You are with me always and forever.   

You are still my guiding light. 

You are Grace. 

You are Love. 

Querida Abuela, Gracias. Michelle xx

born 8 May 1917 in Camberwell, London
died January 1995 in Christchurch, Dorset

Candle #6  Marion Frances Marples

5’7” – 172cm

Marion Marples, daughter, wife, mother, teacher and feminist who served this cathedral, attempted the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1968 as a young penniless student living on onion soup. Her failure to complete it was the beginning of a lifelong association with pilgrimage. She eventually arrived in Santiago on foot in 1998 having helped to found and nurture the Confraternity of St James which today advises pilgrims prepararing for their walk of a lifetime. In her last four years she was instrumental in the rediscovery and reawakening of the Pilgrims’ Way route ready for 2020.

born 26 July 1950 in Poole, Dorset   
died 30 April 2019 in Southwark, London

Candle #7 Thomas Becket – St Thomas

6” – 183cm

850 years ago Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury gave his last sermon here in Southwark Cathedral before setting off on his horse back to Canterbury. The route he took became The Pilgrim’s Way which Marion Marples and her husband Leigh helped map and revive. For this artwork, 850 people have been ‘measured to the saint’ and the 86-mile route from Southwark to Canterbury, Cathedral to Cathdral, is traced to scale along the vertical paper panels. After his murder in 1170 throngs of pilgrims passed through Southwark on their way to Canterbury to pray before St Thomas’ shrine. Thomas became a powerful symbol of a man prepared to stand up for what he thought was right, in the name of God, even to the King. 

born 21 December 1120 in Cheapside, London
died 29 December 1170 in Canterbury, Kent

Candle #8 Melanie Frances Gill 

5’8” – 173cm

Melanie was born in Gosport where her father was serving in the Royal Navy. When her father retired, they moved to Norfolk and then onto Poole where her parents ran the Parkstone Sea Training School for Dr Barnardo’s. She grew up there with her family and the boys of the school. She later trained as a nurse and worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She met her husband, Clive in London and just before they married they moved down to Wimborne, Dorset to settle down. They had two daughters, Netty and Rachel, and lived 45 happy years together. Melanie always had a love of travel and enjoyed many holidays including a trip around the world. She had a beautiful caring soul and a giggle which could light up the room.  

We hope you feel Melanie’s warmth in this candle.

born 25 June 1940 in Gosport, Hampshire
died 11 February 2016 in Merley, Dorset

Candle #9 Oliver Gladwell Stephens

6’3” – 191cm

Dearest Olli. A spark of life that would go anywhere and everywhere and connect with the people he encountered. A motivator and fighter for the good on life. He kindled many a spark in his career and left behind a big mark.  A spirit of a player with an excitement for the journey as much as the goals. He shines brightly in the night galaxy with love and devotion.

born 13 October 1975 in Cardiff, Wales
died 8 April 2018 in Miami, Florida

Candle #10 Mary Parry Dawes

5’7” – 170cm

Mary was a happily married, fun-loving family-oriented woman. She worked hard and enjoyed a long career as a nurse, which she excelled at. Mary was artistic and fantastic at needlework of all kinds, embroidery, sewing, beading, knitting you name it. She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren – reading stories, cooking and going on adventures. On walks she would point out magical kingdoms and fairy artefacts – they were everywhere; in the woods, the beach, the local park. She had a wicked sense of humour and right through to her last, long and dark days, she would light up at the suggestion of mischief and with a twinkle in her eye, she would crack a joke. She is greatly missed.

born 16 August 1929 in in Blaenavon, Wales
died 21 May 2019 in Cardiff, Wales

Candle #11 Pauline Elizabeth Hampson 

5’6” – 168cm

Pauline moved with the grace of the world; a mother, sister and daughter, a walker, a mountaineer, a climber, a teacher. She valued connection through words and deeds; family, friend or stranger given her love and attention. She was moved by the spirit found in nature, from sea to sky; here she found peace. ‘Choose the light’, she would say, ‘but don’t fear the dark as it comes and goes on it’s way; storms pass.’

As you stand in the light of her candle, take a breath and know you are loved and valued for your part in the great circle of things, and try to embrace the unknown journey of the yet-unfolding future with the same curiosity, warmth and hope that she bestowed on those she connected with in her waking life.

born 21 April 1950 in Bramhall, Cheshire
died 15 October 2007 in Bishops Waltham, Hampshire

Candle #12 Barry George Pear

5’9” – 175cm

Barry was full of fun and would do anything for anyone. He loved to joke and had a twinkle in his eye. He was such a thoughtful man, and he never made a fuss. He was a do-er, not a sitter-abouter. He loved a project and friends would ask with a smile “what’s Barry up to now?!” He was always up to something. When he and his wife, Maureen, moved to Bournemouth many years ago they discovered golf and enjoyed getting out on the golf course – almost every day since he retired. He also loved to dance, enjoying rock’n’roll with Mo right through to his 80s – as she says “I miss the man!’ 

born 23 October 1937 in Homerton, London
died 30 April 2019 in Bournemouth

Candles offer light and hope in times when we need it most – here are some links that may do too:

The Dean’s excellent blog

Southwark Cathedral resources page

Southwark Cathedral’s YouTube channel

Southwark: The 12 Candles was last modified: July 22nd, 2020 by Michelle Rumney