The Parvis Room

I find slit windows in stair towers built into old building a strong magnet. The same goes for small arched doorways with locked doors. This one is in St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow, I just had to find a way in.

Fortunately, the volunteers who work here are dead helpful, love dogs and will welcome anyone who shows an interest in this building that they love.

All credit to The Pointer who put on an Oscar winning performance, sitting to attention, and shaking a paw when treats were offered. Talk about graduation from charm school.

Chuffed when I was given the key, I rapidly ascended the spiral stairs. They seemed to go on for ages, my pace only broken by a short pause to look out of each of the differing shaped slit windows.

Eventually I came to the Parvis Room. The term ‘parvis’ refers to the space outside the porch of a church but is often also loosely applied to the porch itself. By extension the Parvis Room is the room above the porch. While not too common, I have come across a small number of these hidden gems.

This Parvis Room was originally used by the Church’s Deacons up until the 17th century, when it became a library, then a museum. It is a hexagonal room that matched the shape of porch below. I am loving this diagonally braced hexagonal wooden column supporting the lantern roof.

The walls have a number of frescos that were unfortunately damaged. Restoration as opposed to conservation or preservation can and is quite destructive. Restoring an object to its original state often erases the physical historic markers of an object’s use by significantly altering physical evidence and original materials.

Saying that, this is a stunningly beautiful space that is peaceful and light. It’s a neutral space that’s miles away from anywhere. You almost lose the sense of being in a church building and there is a powerful mystique that only a slit window in a stair tower with a locked door can offer.


About Morturn

Historian – Photographer – Filmmaker Retired construction professional with a passion for public, social and industrial history. I believe in equality, dignity and integrity for all. Don’t like people who try to belittle the ambitions of others. I am of the opinion that my now life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
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