Made in Japan

26 March 2008

by Margaret Duggan

ONE OF the oddest stories of the year has come from the parish of Fownhope, in Hereford diocese. Four members of a Japanese property group, on their way back from Yorkshire, happened to be passing through Fownhope and spotted the daughter church, All Saints’, Brockhampton, the thatched Arts and Crafts church thought by Pevsner to be one of the “most impressive churches of its date”.

Unknown to the Rector of Fownhope, the Revd Will Pridie, the group took photographs and measurements, and later came back to meet Mr Pridie with his PCC treasurer and secretary. They said they wished to recreate the church, including its “wishbone arches”, carvings, and embroideries, in a tower block in Osaka, to be part of a wedding venue that included photographic studios, restaurants, and honeymoon suites.

It seems it is all the rage in Japan to be married in a Western-style church, whether or not it is a Christian wedding. “They like the trimmings,” said Mr Pridie.

Large numbers have been flying to Europe to be married in a church, but this would be taking the church to them. Sue Anamizu (above) from European Connections Ltd, together with her project manager, architect, and site manager, were asking to take final laser measurements, and were offering a million yen (£4000) in return.

A check with the Chancellor of the diocese revealed that a church has no copyright, and permission was granted. So the Japanese took measurements of the whole church, and the people of Brockhampton are waiting with great curiosity to see what their church will look like in a Japanese tower block.

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