Anglo-American Press Gleanings, Compiled by Neil Inglis and Valerie Offord

Prayer by 'Computer Speak'

Dad@hvn, urspshl we want wot u want&urth2b like hvn.giv us food&4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz.don't test us!save us!bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf&ur cool 4 eva!ok?

The Lord's Prayer has been translated into the language of the text message as part of a new scheme to send church services to worshippers on their mobile phones. 'Our Father, who art in heaven' has become 'dad@hven' while 'forgive us our trespasses' is rendered as '4give r sins'.

Other prayers, readings and meditations are also to be translated to give worshippers an entire service in test message format. The idea is the latest attempt to bring Christianity to a generation that is too busy to go to church. The Muslim community has already seen by the benefits of text-messaging believers with their five daily 'calls to prayer'.

The Lord's Prayer, the first part of the liturgy to be translated, was conceived after an on-line competition to find the best version. It had to be cut from 372 characters to 160 or fewer without losing anything important. Matthew Campbell. a history student at York University, came up with the accepted version.

The mobile phone church services was launched by the satirical Christian website at the Greenbelt Arts and Music Festival in Cheltenham this August. Young people were able to sit down and stop what they are doing when their messages arrived, and read them out to friends around them, to create a new form of simultaneous worship. If successful the experiment could be extended. The idea came from a religious service conducted by text messages recently in Hanover, Germany.

Simon Jenkins, the editor of the, accessed by thousands of Christians worldwide, said: 'We're fascinated by the collision between traditional Christianity and popular culture .... It is an experimental form of virtual worship.'

From an article by Ruth Gledhill in The Times of Monday 2 July 2001

Restoration of Sir Thomas More's Home, Crosby Hall

Christopher Moran's controversial vision for the 15th-century Crosby Hall, former home of Sir Thomas More and Richard III, was revealed to Londoners recently when he invited the press for a first glimpse behind the huge oak doors each weighing two tons. The ugly green hoardings that covered the front of the building for eight years have disappeared creating a new landmark on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea opposite Battersea Bridge.

Crosby Hall was built between 1466 and 1470 as the great hall of Sir John Crosby's house in Bishopsgate in the City of London. The mansion formerly covered the greater part of what is now called Crosby Square. Sir John Crosby was a man of great wealth and great position: merchant, Lord Mayor, diplomat, and ambassador. Richard of Gloucester (soon to become Richard III) was living in the house at the time of the death of Edward IV and it was here that he received the news of the murder of the princes in the Tower. Early in the next century another Lord Mayor obtained it and lent it to the ambassador of the Emperor Maximilian. In 1516 it was bought by Sir Thomas More, who lived there for seven years, and it was in this house that he wrote Utopia and Life of Richard the Third. His friend Antonio Bonvici, a merchant of Lucca, to whom More wrote his well-known letter from the Tower lived in the house after him. Successive owners or occupants of this house include William Roper, More's son-in-law; William Bond, Alderman, Sheriff and merchant adventurer; Mary, Countess of Pembroke, and sister of Sir Philip Sidney; and Sir Stephen Langham.

The Fire of 1666 did not reach Bishopsgate so the house was spared and it largely survived a fire later in the reign of Charles 11. Though most of the mansion was pulled down over the years, the fine Tudor Hall survived. It served as a Presbyterian meeting house and even a packer's warehouse. In the 1830s it was a literary institution. In 1908 it was saved from demolition, moved brick by brick and rebuilt in Chelsea on a site of the Thameside garden once owned by Sir Thomas More. For most of the last century the hall was part of a hostel for women postgraduate students. In 1988 Mr. Moran, a self-made millionaire, acquired the freehold of Crosby Hall for E100,000 from the London Residuary Body and set about building a house for himself around the great hall, using designs and techniques from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Crosby Hall is widely held to be the finest surviving example of a Tudor hall. The jewel of the hall is its decorated crimson and gold timber ceiling. There is a splendid fireplace which has warmed kings, saints and poets. The new owner has turned the hall into one side of a quadrangle, placing three buildings around a quarter-acre garden. At the front, facing the Thames, is an edifice of bricks from The Netherlands, topped with two decorative towers and a cupola. To one side is a stone-built dining hall. At the back is a council chamber' with stained-glass windows displaying Moran's coat of arms. The garden in the middle has been laid out by Lady Salisbury. Herbs, wild roses and an olive tree try to recreate the flora of Tudor England. A swimming pool has been built in the basement and there is an underground car park.

Mr. Moran's greatest coup was to persuade David Honour and Philip Tew, experienced designers from the Historic Royal Palaces agency, to work for him. Mr. Honour was the head of design and provided the chandeliers for the House of Commons chamber, and the gates outside Kensington Palace. Mr. few built an oak staircase for the Tower of London. The two men now face the task of completing Crosby Hall, a job that is expected to take until 2010. [heir biggest challenge is to build a 50ft-high staircase out of oak using 16th-century techniques.

Mr. Moran says that, although the building is not open to the general public, groups having a genuine interest in art and architecture of that period are shown round.

Compiled by Valerie Offord and Neil Inglis
based on a report by Dominic Kennedy in The Times, 15 September 2001,
and Medieval London: A City of Palaces (part 2) by Walter Besant,

Rare Book The Wydow Edyth in Tax Swap

A ribald 16th-century book The Wydow Edyth is among prized works the British Government announced in October that it had accepted as payment for inheritance taxes. Rare books and works of art, which are subsequently allocated to museums and libraries to enrich the national collections, are accepted under a tax law that allows heirs to offer art in payment of the tax on inherited property. There was no indication of who had owned this rare early English book, now at the British Library, but it was received in lieu of $85,800.

The Wydow Edyth, printed in 1525, tells the story of a confidence trickster widow who preys on unsuspecting men. It is believed to be the only surviving full copy of the story written by Walter Smith, a servant of King Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More. Part of it is set in More's household in Chelsea.

Graham Jefcoate, head of the National Library's early printed collections said 'This ribald poem rivals Chaucer's Wife of Bath tale for its near-the-knuckle humour. Almost all the characters, with the exception of the widow Edyth herself, can be identified as real people, ranging from figures of national importance to minor yeomen. This is the most fascinating aspect of the hook, but it also provides a lively depiction of the manners and mores of the time, and contains material of interest to social historians, literary scholars and bibliographers.'

Compiled by Neil Inglis and Valerie Offord from
various press releases on 26 October, 2001

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