Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A christening at the Temple (2)

I fear that I have been laden down with work and real life issues the past few weeks; hence the lack of activity here and elsewhere.  Hopefully things are a bit better now so I'll try to catch up before I head off to New Zealand in 3 weeks.  However, my painting time has slowed to almost zero these past weeks, which means that a couple of things I had hoped to complete have gone on the back burner while I finish off a few things for various people. Still, more on those in due course.

Anyway, yesterday was a special day as Monty was christened at Temple Church in central London.  As Hugo received a post on his christening at the same place in July 2010, I thought it only fair that Monty received similar treatment.   As I said before, "the Temple" now is the name given to the Inner Temple and Middle Temple, which are two of England's four "Inns of Court" which, in practical terms, are collections of lawyers (specifically, barristers rather than solicitors). Lawyers set up shop in the area early in the 14th century, but the Temple began life as the English headquarters of the Knights Templar. Temple Church was consecrated in 1185 by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem in the presence of Henry II. The "Round Church", to which the rectangular Chancel was added some years later, was designed to be a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcre in Jerusalem. It was in the Round that Monty was baptised and the church's Master (the priest of the church still bears the title of the head of the military order) explained that to people in the 12th century being in a replica of the Holy Sepulcre was, in effect, almost as good as being in Jerusalem itself.  When the Templers fell from grace in 1307 the Church and its adjoining monastic buildings were appropriated by King Edward II who then handed the Temple over to the Knights Hospitaller. The Hospitallers in turn rented out some of the area to the lawyers whose successors have remained there ever since.

The Temple Church, and indeed the Middle Temple, has a connection to my family in that my parents were married in the church some 40 years ago; my brother and I, and of course now my own children, were christened there; and my brother's (first) wedding reception was held in the Temple Hall - see below.  My father practiced law in the Middle Temple for many years and is now one of the 400-odd Benchers, who are the honorary governors of the Middle Temple.  I wonder if that makes him a sort of modern Knight Templar, or perhaps the closest thing to the Knights that we now have (outside of Dan Brown's fantasies, that is).  Monty was very well behaved during the service, not flinching an inch during the baptism itself (see below) and he didn't blow raspberries like his older brother did at his christening.  Hugo also did famously, helping me blow out Monty's christening candle, assisting the Master in pouring the water into the font and shouting "Amen" at the relevant times.  The current Master is the Reverend Robin Griffith-Jones, a wonderful man whose natural authority and good humour is everything one might want in a churchman.  


Here are the Kiwi, the boys and their English godparents (the others being in NZ):

Hugo's very pleased with himself after blowing out Monty's christening candle:
We again had a lunch reception in rooms in the Temple Hall. The Hall was built between 1562 and 1573. It acts as the dining rooms for members of the Middle Temple and a link to history is that it hosted the first performance of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in 1602. The rooms adjoining the main Hall itself are adorned with portraits of heads of the judiciary and other senior judges from the past 300 hundred years. Given that I spend each working day in a very modern office in Canary Wharf, it was rather humbling to sit down to lunch pretty much in the place where law in England began.  In addition to friends from London and Essex, we had family from Scotland and Ulster; the latter noted, as one does, that it's largely weddings, christenings and funerals that get the family together.  But this is it for us as regards christenings now - two is certainly enough.

We hired entertainment for the 20-odd children and babies, which enabled parents to have a relatively peaceful and undisturbed lunch.  So well done "Artful Splodgers" of Essex - we couldn't have done without you.  (Hugo loved his first experience of "Wii", although I have no idea what it is.)

Monty taking some time out:

And the Parliament Room, where the lunch was held (Bencher Allison on the left):


So next weekend it's Hugo's 4th birthday party, with more nanny trials and then the Christmas panto, followed by Hugo's family birthday party, and then the street party (indoors, I hope), followed by the nursery Christmas get-together and the pre-school play in which Hugo is a donkey, and then we collapse into the plane for NZ.  I have about 60 figures to paint before then.


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

What a wonderful day! And an equally wonderful-looking family too.

Best Regards,


Bluebear Jeff said...

Will you get to meet or play a game with any of the NZ gamers?

And thank you for the history of the Temple . . . and for such a successful christening.

-- Jeff

airhead said...

Congratulations Giles & family, looks like a great day was had by all.

All the best


Ubique Matt said...

Well done that (young) man, Monty. Blowing raspberries in the presence of William Marshall has to be frowned upon.

Congrats on a successful day. I still find it amusing that I've visited in all those sites in Jerusalem but still haven't managed to get inside the Temple church in London.


Greg Sapara said...

Congrats to all!

What a lovely family - you're a lucky man!


PRForgette said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful family day.

God Bless you and your family.

El Grego said...

Outstanding. Congrats to Monty, and Hugo for being such a trooper!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Congratulations to you and your family on that happy day!


Iowa Grognard said...

Congratulations to you and your family!

Two is enough? If you're planning any large wargames, to play during your retirement, you'll need at least a couple more division commanders.

Giles said...

Thank you all for your very kind comments. Strictly two, Iowa - I don't have the energy for another one!


paulalba said...

Well done to your young fellow and his bro blowing out the candle! Congratulations!!!

legatus hedlius said...

I love that picture of Monty at the font!

Do you have time to meet up before you head south?

Poacher said...

AAaahhh, bless!! :-)