Not Good Enough for Pevsner

Regular readers will know my fascination with architecture, especially of the older sort. People of the past had few ways to communicate to future generations, so ‘reading’ their buildings is a way of hearing their voices. One essential tool for such an interest is The Buildings of England, by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. The great man toured the country after 1945, listing, describing and commenting upon every building of architectural merit, town by town, village by village. The Lancashire North edition alone runs to over 700 pages. I was curious to know what the he thought of our chapel. I looked up Rimington, but alas, nothing was there. As it was written before ’74, I assumed it would therefore be in the West Riding of Yorkshire edition, a second-hand copy of which I purchased. Again alas, we were missing from that one, too. Perhaps we were too remote? Is it possible he didn’t know our chapel existed, seeing as we’re not really part of any town or village? Or, might we have evaded his notice as Salem Chapel was of insufficient interest to one so steeped in architectural beauty? Indeed, ours is a plain chapel and our congregation is made up of largely plain people. By the standards of the world, we are of little account. Though we are ordinary folk worshipping in an unadorned meeting house, the apostle rhetorically asks

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)

Paul is not speaking of our building, but of our people. The glorious dwelling place of Heaven’s God is not Salem Chapel but Salem’s folk. Perhaps some learned angel is composing a catalogue of God’s elect, that his fellows, desiring to look into such things, might better appreciate the marvellous beauty of Christ’s saints. Pevsner might have omitted our chapel from his volumes, but the inhabitants of heaven will not fail to notice even the humblest of Christians as they are welcomed home, accompanied by the blasts of many trumpets and the roaring of angelic cheers.

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Revelation 7