Gothic In Extremis: Missions, Mediation, and the Case of the Patteson Memorial Chapel in the South Pacific

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

With the advent of the Oxford Movement and the rise of the Cambridge Camden Society, High Anglican theology left an indelible mark on the progress of Gothic Revival architecture in Britain. The formal and spatial strategies that accompanied this phenomenon naturally found their way to Britain’s colonies. Initially, inadequate means meant that little could be hoped for in the colonial world. However, by the late 1840s Anglican clergymen and their architects had learnt to turn these limitations to their advantage. Thinking carefully about specific environmental requirements (climatic and cultural), they adapted and ‘developed’ their architecture to suit the context. For ecclesiologists, both in Britain and abroad, this process of ‘appropriate’ adaptation was considered fundamental to modern church design.

As the nineteenth century progressed, and Britain’s empire continued to expand, approaches (or theories) of adaptation to foreign climates became evermore sophisticated—spatially, structurally, and spiritually. This included accommodating specific cultural needs that resulted from cultural encounters with indigenous, non-European peoples. This process was similar to that of ‘inculturation’ pioneered by Roman Catholic missionaries in the Americas and Asia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For High Anglicans, this process was accompanied by a very specific missiology that concerned the doctrine of ‘reserve’ and other forms of ‘mediated’ and interpretative theology, based on the contemporary biblical scholarship of those such as Joseph Lightfoot and Brooke Westcott.

This chapter considers how this theological approach affected Anglican missionary architecture in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, focusing on the chapel of the Melanesian Mission at Norfolk Island, designed by T. G. Jackson in 1875. An innovative and intriguing work of architecture, this building (St. Barnabas) demonstrates the limits to which Anglican design and the Gothic Revival were taken during the middle decades of the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGothic Revival Worldwide: A.W.N. Pugin’s Global Influence
EditorsTimothy Brittain-Catlin, Jan De Maeyer, Martin Bressani
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherLeuven University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789462700918
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Melanesia
  • architecture
  • mission
  • Patteson
  • gothic revival
  • church
  • Codrington
  • Anglican


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