Canon Anthony Charlton’s reflections on All Souls’ Day.
This feast of the Commemoration of All Souls is not a day of grief and mourning but of hope and prayer that God will deliver all those who may still be suffering in some form and bring them to eternal happiness.
In our parish we have the so called Belvedere Chapel at Hales Place. It is the only remaining building of the large house and estate belonging to the Hales family and was converted from an 18th century’s garden building to a chapel around 1879. The whole site is now in a very sorry state. In 1880 the large house was sold to exiled Jesuits from Lyon and turned into a college. The college was popular with the French nobility who sent their sons there to learn away from political persecution in France. In 1928 the estate was sold and the house was demolished in the following years. Its chapel (originally a dovecote) and the burial ground are all that remain, located by the Tenterden Drive layby. There are twenty people buried in and around the building. Sir Edward Hales, Mary Felicity Hales and Lady Frances Hales all reburied here, along with ten Jesuit priests, two children, one lay teacher, four lay brothers and one Jesuit scholastic.
As we pray for the souls of all the departed today let us remember especially those buried around the Mortuary Chapel.
O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son, having conquered death, should pass over into the realm of heaven, grant, we pray, to your departed servants that, the mortality of this life overcome, they may gaze eternally on you, their Creator and Redeemer. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. AMEN
Image: David Greenhalgh / Belvedere Chapel / CC BY-SA 2.0