As a young man I confess a prize possession was Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s Church Travellers Directory – or to give it its full title: The Church Travellers Directory: Giving the Names of Anglican Churches in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, where may be found a Daily Celebration of the Holy Communion, a Sung Eucharist on all Sundays, Fixed Times when Confessions may be heard, and continuous Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Thanks to Fr Blagdon-Gamlen I visited such places as St Silas, Pentonville, The Ascension, Lavender Hill, St Agatha, Sparkbrook, St Alban, Bordesley, St Barnabas, Balsall Heath ….
4* (DSCR) was the best accolade for an Anglo Catholic church. (St Chrysostom’s is there among the 4*s – full Catholic privileges!). Fr B-G didn’t actually use a * rating, but readers often translated the initials after churches to stars.
Times have changed, and Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s directory has not been reprinted, for many, understandable, reasons. It has become a resource for nostalgia or history. Neither are bad things in themselves, and so on the blog we offer the Directory in pdf form.
(Fr Peter Eugene Blagdon-Gamlen was a fine representative of that group of idiosyncratic Anglo Catholic priests – see an obituary here )
A reminder of the initials used:
D: Daily Mass (at least 5 weekdays), S: Sunday celebration of Mass / Parish Communion every Sunday at the same time, C: Confessions heard at advertised times, R: Continuous Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Church Travellers Directory – (pdf files) (2nd Edition 1973)
London Postal District (including the introduction).
English Counties L-Y and Ireland
Do post a comment here about the Directory – it would be fun to share experiences of its use.
For an earlier yet similar Church guide – of 1931- see this post on our blog.
And for an even earlier one – 1874 see this post on the blog.
(Oh – and by the way why do so many Anglo Catholic priests have unusual surnames? We consider this in this blog post!)
Ah, what memories the ‘Directory’ brings back. To know where one could find a sound church was such a relief to travellers in those far-off days. At least we are still 3* (SCR) though others have, sadly, fallen away…
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I now live in Italy so I cannot come to your services but I follow your work with much interest on your blog and emails.
I have been to the English Church in Florence but it was very very ‘high’ and not a ‘Protestante’ church. The Church say they are the original Catholics and that Rome moved away from them and they carry on the true Catholicism.
I have now thought I would go to the Episcopalians in Florence but it is a long way 40 miles. But they are so brave about gay issues and think I may feel welcome.
I also thought of going to my village church (13th Cen) very nice, but RC so I would feel wrong given ‘Il Papa’s’ views and actions re gays not to mention wider issues.
I hope you will pray for me and my new life here. If anyone knows of an Anglican/Protestant service nearer me in Vellano, near Lucca in Tuscany, please let me know.
Yours in Christ
I remember purchasing a copy of this Directory from Mowbrays on Margaret Street, W1. I used to work nearby (close to Broadcasting House), and worship at All Saints. On my days off I would look Churches up, and take myself to various parts of the Capital to sample the Mass elsewhere – especially those sporting DSCR as their distinguishing mark!
The compiler said somewhere that he could not be sure which rite would be in use. As I travelled around I was able to sample the Tridentine Rite in English, (I never knowingly heard the Canon in Latin, but could not be certain of that); through to Series Two with English Missal propers; to the modern Roman Rite – it was quite fun.
It might be interesting to think about the variants one might expect to encounter nowadays. I’m not so sure that esoteric tastes would these days be unwittingly satisfied as they once were.
If you visit the island of Stronsay in Orkney you will be able to hear the Tridentine Rite in Latin. There’s the Golgotha Monastery and a breakaway group who meet in a makeshift chapel in a garage.
We always travel with the Church Travellers Directory, unfortunately it was published in 1973.
Can anyone recall, or know if there is a later edition,
and if so were or how to obtain one.
Thank you in anticipation.
I wonder if there ever was a similar directory for the USA and Canada. I know the old American Church Union had a list of parishes that ‘belonged’, but that would have been back in the ’50s, another generation ago. Seems I’m getting older by the minute!
Now of course we have the problematic ‘affirming Catholic’ stuff, as well as the Latin thing, ordinarium or whatever…ah yes: anglican use is it?
So many varieties, just like Heinz with its 57.
of course I shouldn’t quibble since I’m now safely in the Orthodox Eastern fold, but still…
Rdr. James Morgan
It’s interesting to see St Chad’s Bishop’s Tachbrook there. It’s no longer as Anglo-Catholic as I would like it to be but I am doing my best to creep it back up the candle! Small steps.
Priest in Charge
I still have a rather battered copy. It was invaluable when I was a student in London; a friend and I used to draw up itineraries for our afternoon off and travel across the Capital and surrounding Counties, seeking out Anglo-Catholic shrines! Most of those listed in my home County would no longer be included. I note marks we made “redundant”, “closed” “Prot” and additional “R”, lines through “D” and one remark when we went to Sunday Mass and found Solemn Mattins – the only time I had encountered that!
I still have my copy. Though now, it is mainly used as a weeping index. A weeping index for the Church of England I once knew and loved. For all its idiosyncrasies, sometimes downright stupidity, but always forgiving in a loving, Anglican way.
Glad to see Saint peter and Saint luke Wallsend were mentioned in those days