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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day eight – morning: The Sistine Chapel

English Martyrs

I’m skipping ahead to day eight but I’ll be back to pick up days six and seven… sorry, there’s no avoiding it!

Yes, I’m looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No, I’m not in Rome… still in Worthing!

English Martyrs

I’m at the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring-by-Sea.

English Martyrs

The ceiling is at 2/3 scale of the original Michelangelo painting in the Vatican. The colors match the newly cleaned ceiling in Rome.

English martyrs

The work was painted by Gary Bevans, a sign writer who is a parishioner of the church. He is a natural artist with no formal training. After a parish pilgrimage trip to Rome in 1987 to attend the Beatification of 85 English Martyrs, he gained permission from the Vatican and the bishop to reproduce the ceiling in Worthing.

english martyrs

Several years ago my friend JM and I enjoyed a two-week, two thousand-mile trip of Italy. Our first visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was very rushed so our tour guide could get us to the gift shop! So as J and I had planned some extra time in Rome at the end of the trip, we visited the Sistine Chapel again on our own. We sat for a good hour looking up at the ceiling. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

English MartyrsWith this reproduction you are much closer to the ceiling and it’s easier to see the details, even at 2/3 scale. It’s certainly impressive.

English MartyrsThe project took five and a half years to complete in the evenings and weekends. Gary also had to continue his full time day job. And spend time with his family!

English MartyrsIt was most certainly a labor of love.

English Martyrs Three volunteers were working in the church when I was there. They were all really lovely people. One of them gave me a tour of the church and told me the story of the ceiling. As I told them I was considering moving back to Worthing, they gave me some recommendations for real estate agents to talk to (which I did) and some ideas for the neighborhoods that might suit me the best.

English MartyrsI enjoyed the visit to the church and recommend it to anybody who might be visiting the area. I didn’t get a photo of the outside of the church. The building was not what I expected… not the least bit pretentious… I would describe it as a country church. I almost walked past it.

English Martyrs

The English Martyrs window. The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation were men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680.  In 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Lovely.

More images from the church:









English martyrs

This painting is a modernized version of da Vinci’s the Last Supper. Local people from the parish were used as models.