On 13th November Fr Alexander Redman celebrated a Low Requiem Mass at the Eyre Chantry in Perrymead Cemetery, Bath.
This miniature jewel of a chapel was built by Charles Francis Hansom in the 1860s for John Lewis Eyre, as a burial place and chantry for the Eyre family. Hansom designed an elaborate French Gothic chapel, with a beautiful altar in the form of a sepulchre containing an alabaster figure of Christ. In the crypt are buried members of the Eyre family, Recusants who came originally from Derbyshire.
Fr Redman preached on the vital importance of praying, and offering Mass for the suffering souls in Purgatory. There are countless examples of chantry chapels, tombs and crypts in churches around the country, now no longer in Catholic hands, which were built in the confident expectation that Mass would be celebrated in perpetuity. The souls of these faithful departed no longer receive the benefit of Masses or intercessionary prayers. Fr Redman encouraged us to pray for these departed souls whenever we visit a church – particularly a pre-Reformation church – where Mass is no longer celebrated.
The Mass today was offered for the souls of all the departed Eyre family – many of whom entered the religious life and the priesthood. One member of the family, Charles Eyre, became the first post-Reformation Bishop of Glasgow.
The chapel is otherwise unused, and is closed to the public for most of the year. It was a most moving and beautiful sight to witness the Mass being celebrated here again, in the rite and for the purpose for which it was intended. The cold, dusty building was transformed into a place of light and prayer, ready once more to receive the presence of Our Lord.
The hope is that a monthly requiem Mass will be offered here all year round. Please check this website for further details.