The Massacre At Paris Christopher Marlowe

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

THE MASSACRE AT PARIS - Christopher Marlowe

Date: 30th January 2014

THE MASSACRE AT PARIS by Christopher Marlowe

Marlowe died very young and there aren’t many of his works extant. If you visit the Internet and type the title, you’ll find some excellent information particularly that written by The Marlowe Society.

The Massacre at Paris is the story of the Massacre of St. Bartholemew’s Eve when the Huguenots were slaughtered in huge numbers which led to a mass exodus of these French Protestants (Calvinists) many of whom came to Canterbury seeking sanctuary. They were welcomed and worshipped in the Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. Elizabeth 1 eventually gave the Black Prince’s Chantry to the Huguenots expressly for their regualar worship. To this day a service is conducted in French on a Sunday afternoon at 3.00 pm. For further information, please look at my lengthy Blog on the Huguenots.

On the 18th and 19th March the Fourth Monkey Theatre Company will be presenting the play in the Crypt at Canterbury Cathedral.

On the 18th in St. Peter’s Methodist Church Hall I have been asked to talk to Luis de Bernieres (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) about the influence and afterlife the Huguenots exodus has had on his personal and our national heritage. Luis is a Huguenot and his family name appears on the Huguenot Role of Honour which is displayed in the Huguenot Chapel. It used to hang on the outside facing the Crypt but it is an incomplete list and many Huguenots were upset not to find their names there so the decision was taken to move it inside the Chapel which sadly cannot be entered through the Crypt. As an Assistant at the Cathedral I so often find people at the interior door to the Chapel and wish I could open it for them to show them the magnificent Chantry of the Black Prince. The latter had to obtain Papal dispensation to marry his first cousin, the Fair Maid of Kent. In thanksgiving he paid for the decoration to the chapel or to be more correct the two small chapels which now form the Huguenot place of worship. What you have is the Transept in the Crypt. On the North there are two very simple small chapels whereas on the South, cut off by a wooden screen and door, you’ll find the Chantry Chapel of the Black Prince with its beautiful lierne vaulting (purely decorative) and some superb ceiling bosses most of which look as though they were carved yesterday. Of course, being on the interior they’ve not suffered the ravages of time as so much else has done on the exterior of the Cathedral and in the Cloisters.

So, if you are a Huguenot or simply interested in Marlowe’s play and the uniqueness of it being performed in the Crypt, then you can book for both the play and the talk.

Just to let you know – I am involved because of my Huguenot ancestry and my desire to promote recognition of The Huguenots and perhaps get a few more folk across the door of the little Huguenot Chapel. The Chapel has had continual services for over 400 years – the congregation is very small and it would be a tragedy if it dwindled to such an extent that the door would have to be closed forever.

Best wishes, Jan

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