Thursday, November 12, 2015

Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon

Visiting Ripon College, Cuddesdon in Oxfordshire, near the city of Oxford, one comes across an interesting building, i.e. the Edward King Chapel. Designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, it sits in the Garden of Ripon College. The Chapel has generously been funded by the Sisters of the Communities of St John Baptist and the Good Shepherd. This chapel, with its modern and unique style, promotes personal prayer as well as public worship. This building has won a number of important awards for its architectural style[1]. The architect of this beautiful modern church building, Niall McLaughlin explains, in reference to the chapel:

“When you stand on this site with your back to the great Beech, leaving the buildings behind, you are in a ring of mature trees on high ground overlooking the valley that stretches away towards Garsington. This clearing has its own particular character, full of wind and light and the rustling of leaves. Our design seeks to capture these qualities within the building.
We have two important architectural ideas. The first is a gentle hollow in the ground as a meeting place for the community. The second is a delicate ship-like timber structure that rises into the treetops to gather the light from the leaves. The first idea speaks of ground, of meeting in the still centre. The second idea suggests an uplifting buoyancy, rising towards the light. The way in which these two opposite forces work off each other is what gives the building its particular character.”

(This picture was taking during the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, celebrated at the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius 2015 Conference).

The Chapel in Ripon College received the name Edward Kind. Who was Edward King? Born in the British capital in 1829, Edward King, both as a priest and then as a bishop, was revered for the holiness of his life and the wisdom of his counsel. He was chaplain, then principal, of Cuddesdon Theological College, followed by a dozen years as a professor of theology in Oxford, during which time he exercised a great influence on a generation of ordinands. In 1885, he was consecrated bishop of the diocese of Lincoln, a position he held until his death. His advocacy of Catholic principles involved him in controversy, but his significant gift to the Church was his example as a pastoral and caring bishop to both clergy and laity.  

[1] More on the awards can be found here:

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