World's longest thread. As I was the guy to lock the doors last night at @smitf_london - I want to take this as an opportunity to provide the rest of you some of the treasures of St Martin's, since you cannot visit right now.
As part of the partial mothballing of the site, I ran around and took a lot of photographs of our various interesting things. Also, as one of the vergers (i.e. a caretaker of the place) I stand on the shoulders of a thousand years of institutional history.
So, you might not be able to visit St Martin's but I shall, over the weeks to come, endeavour to bring it to the rest of you with history, art, and photography. Photos by me, unless otherwise specified. Use them by all means but credit me.
This thread will grow slowly over time as my own "St Martins in Exile" project. So, don't rush me.
First of all, what is a "verger" ? We currently have 6 vergers at St Martins. The office of verger seems to only exist in Anglican churches, but dates from antiquity.
In the early church, there were "minor orders" underneath the ordained clergy. One of these was the "ostiarius" or "porter" whose job it was to keep the gates and doors of the early church. This evolved into a number of ceremonial and logistical duties.
Many, indeed, most Anglican churches do not have vergers any more. But most Cathedrals do. Some larger churches have them. At @smitf_london we are as big and busy as some of the lesser Church of England Cathedrals in the country.
In some places, the office is called a virger, spelled with an I. Other denominations have similar officials, such as a sexton or a beadle. More tomorrow.
By the way, apologies for any substandard photo quality. I did a lot of these pics in a hurry.
A verger/virger is literally named after an object. It is called a virge/verge. It is a badge of office, and it's name comes from the Latin word for "rod". So, yes, the head verger is the Black Rod of the church.
Here's our verge.
The head of the verge shows St Martin. More about our patron saint 600 tweets from now.
Ancestrally, the Verger would process in front of the priests and use the verge to knock stray animals and riff-raff out of the way. Now we don't normally use it very much, except at very formal occasions.
I once waved it at some passing kids on a Harry Potter tour and yelled "Expeliamus" at them.
The whole spelling issue of verge/virge verger/virger is a bit apocryphal and unresolved. I've not met anyone who got sectarian about it though.
The Verger's first job is to make sure that the church is ready for whatever act of worship comes next. This can be a wide range of tasks ranging from putting bookmarks into the priest's bible, ironing linen, or running a lot of audio cables.
The second job is to clean up the mess after a worship service and restore the place to order for the next event on the schedule.
The third duty is to keep order and assist the priests and other people conducting the service. Occasionally this means acting a bit like a bouncer. Not often, thankfully. But also, I will do things like serve communion wine. Back before that was banned.
The fourth duty is to look after the church building. St Martins is a large complex, and there are various other departments looking after their bits. Us vergers take care of the main church space itself and our underground chapel.
The final duty is do anything else that gets chucked at us, whether it is emergency maintenance, cleaning up, and serving as general labour of last resort.
[More later.]
The incredible Dave Walker has drawn up this illustration of a verger's office which is remarkably accurate.
Now, enough about being a verger. That's just the background as to why I know this stuff.
So, I propose to do this in a few parts. First part will be a bit of a tour of the place and an overview of some of the amazing features of the place. Second part will be an overview of the history of the place. Third part will be, I dunno, something.
Church architecture uses words that may or may not be familiar to people. This link is an ok reference to the technical terms.
So, like many churches, the current St Martin in the Fields church (there were others before) is laid out from east to west. The main entrance faces west, and the altar is in the east.
More on the history of place later, but the church dates from 1722-1726. The architect was a Scot named James Gibbs. One of the great architects of the day
The church pre-dates Trafalgar Square. But if you stand on the front steps you get a great view of the square. Straight over the road is the National Gallery
Often overlooked is my friend George. Yes, London has a statue of George Washington. He's right over the road.
Every February, someone puts a wreath out there for George on his birthday.
The church today looks much as it did in 1888, when William Logsdail painted this picture. Note that the church's steeple is not over the altar, but over the entrance portico.
However, at the time, having the bell tower over top of the portico and porches was a bit odd.
More tomorrow. Bye for now. Stay safe.
I’m now reporting live from Radio Free St Martin’s, where we are about to record parish Eucharist
Audio recording should be available on our website in a day or so. Go to our Facebook for live video
Numbers are down this Sunday
Any sound issues with the audio recording are probably my fault. #NotASoundEngineer
Video and sound for the Facebook live are, Lord help is, in the hands of eager priests.
That’s it for now. We’ll keep a light on for you.
Stay safe y’all. Signing off for now from @smitf_london
I left the place in good order after helping to feed some hungry folk. I also look after two industrial size rice cookers.
Funny "closing up" in the light of day, when I never really "opened up". Hard for us at the church of the ever open door.
Here's a historical tid-bit that even the most loyal congregants will likely not have seen. I'm sorry it isn't in better shape. I will attempt to shine it up a bit in the future.
HMS Fittleton was, possibly (someone help me on this) last wooden Royal Navy ship to sink with loss of life. Photo is from one Brian Hargreaves. I hope he doesn't mind.
The Fittleton was a minesweeper. Hence the wood hull. It was manned mostly by Navy reservists from Sussex and London. It was on a NATO exercise in September 1976 in the North Sea.
It went down in a collision with the HMS Mermaid, a Frigate originally designed to be Kwame Nkrumah's yacht, but never sold to Ghana.
Here ends my St Martin in the Fields virtual tour for the day. Stay safe, stay well, stay apart physically but not emotionally or morally. Good night and good luck
Reporting back in from the isolated St Martin in the Fields. We’re about to live stream Holy Communion @smitf_london
Now the Rev Richard Carter is giving a heartfelt sermon
Please forgive the scaffolding disassembly sounds in the back. Our maintenance team is still sorting out things
Sorry if I botched the pages
Tomorrow, I make a 2 metre spacing stick to measure and establish separation distances. Vergers do sticks well.
Virtual Tour of St Martin's - in small instalments - will now continue. There are better images in this lovely book, which you might be able to buy at some point in the future. I won't use the images in the book without permission from the photographers.
When you walk into St Martins @smitf_london - you enter through one of our "porches". If you enter through the central porch, the thing most people notice the most is our stunning East Window. Many of you have commented up on it already.
Actually, in many light conditions, it plays tricks on the photographers.
First, it is important to note a bit of the back-story. St Martins doesn't really have olde-worlde stained glass windows. Indeed, some people seem to think that we HAVE to have stained glass, as if it were mandatory for a Church of England church.
The thing is, we HAD stained glass. It all went when a Luftwaffe bomb went off on Duncannon Street on 12 October 1940, immediately south of the church. (Red dot on right top on the blitz bomb map)
"Temporary" replacement window went in, but by the 2000s were not fit for purpose. (More about the Blitz when I do the history bit)
To be honest, Mr. Gibbs didn't want stained glass in his original vision for the place.
The East Window was designed and built by Shirazeh Houshiary, a Persian, and Pip Horne, in 2006-2009 and  as part of a massive renovation and rebuilding campaign of the whole church.
Here's another photo of it. (Photo Dec 2008 by David Hawgood)
According to the artists, the were inspired by an art work called The Veil of St Veronica by Francisco de Zurbarán (circa 1640)... see:
If people express an opinion as to what this abstract window represents, some people see the head of Jesus on the cross, an interpretation that goes along with the Zurburan them.
Others see it as Jacob's ladder. Others see it as a womb. Our vicar once mentioned the empty tomb. In the words of the artists "..the image has a universal dimension and everyone can find something in experiencing it"
It looks decidedly different at different times of day and night. Here's a view from outside. Photo by G. Giuseppini, licence details here
At night we keep the oval lit with a spotlight.
In any case, we are keeping the light on for you in many ways at St Martins. I'm signing off again for now. Keep the faith, keep your distance geometrically but not spiritually. We'll get through this. Good night and good luck
I’m back here at St Martin in the Lockdown. Getting ready for 1pm live steam Eucharist
One of today’s lectionary readings is called The Verger’s nightmare - Ezekiel telling us of water running out of the temple
Text (c) by Ezekiel the Prophet.
Seriously, turning up at church to witness water pouring out is a Vergers’ nightmare.
By request, here are more pics today of our East Window
If you look close, the window panes have bubbles in them. Nosy bystanders have sometimes complained to me that the window is dirty. Is isn’t. At least not that much
Now to check the to-do list
Signing off now. Keep the faith y’all
Our church is configured like many, with a central nave running west to east, and two aisles on either side. We have two upper galleries as well. All told we can seat about 850-875 people. View today from the gallery
We don't have the galleries open very often for church services, but usually have them open for concerts.
In the west end, or as us vergers colloquially, the back of the church, we have some interesting objects.
In the southwest bit of the church we have this statue, called "Victims of Injustice and Violence" by the sculptor Chaim Stevenson. His obituary is here
Saint Martin in the Fields has a long association with the anti-apartheid movement. Our next door neighbour is the South African High Commission. For decades, anti-apartheid protestors camped out there. We became the de facto chapel for this movement.
We've had, and continue to have, some fantastic South Africans in our regular congregation. We are twinned with St Mary's Anglican Cathedral in South Africa. Here's a sermon one of our priests gave there in 2016.
Interestingly, there is a St Martins in the Veld in Randburg, South Africa. I wonder what they're like? I don't know.
So that is our South African connection. It's not our only African connection, but I will tweet more later on. I need to cook some more veggie curry. Keep well and stay safe. Captain Dan signing off for now.
So, I pick up the St Martin in the Fields @smitf_london virtual tour again. I left off with our Chaim Stevenson statue. If you were to stand at that statue and turn around, you'd see this.
This is our memorial book and our prayer request board. People leave prayer requests pinned to the board. Us vergers keep it stocked with scrap paper and pens and pencils.
At the end of the day, before we go home, we gather up the prayer requests and make sure we pass them off to whichever priest is leading morning prayer the following morning. As long as they are readable and not nasty (we do screen them) that it.
I occasionally translated a few prayers in foreign languages. I try to make sure the ones in Chinese get saved until Sunday. Under our normal operations, we have a Chinese language service on Sunday afternoons.
The prayer board is dedicated to the memory of Reverend Florence Li Tim-Oi. 李添嬡 - She was the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion, decades before others.
Her story is an interesting and brave one, and she suffered under the yoke of Japanese occupation and then under Chinese Communism. The Episcopal Church in America commemorates her as a Lesser Feast on the 24th of January
Progressing north through the back of the church, past the nave, one arrives at the Boer War memorial. Although we never talk about it, this is yet another South African connection.
General Allenby regarded the Imperial Yeomanry as useless By the time they were ready for action, according to him, they had "probably been captured two or three times, presenting the Boers on each occasion with a horse, rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition per man"
In any case, I mean no disrespect to these men who we memorialise in the back of our church.
Enough for now. More later or tomorrow. Dan the Verger signing off.
My St Martin in the Fields @smitf_london virtual tour resumes now with a few shout-outs to others with our branding. We seem to have inspired sister churches with very similar names around the world.
In our vicarage we have this nice picture of St Martin in the Woods in Shediac Cape, New Brunswick, Canada.
And we have a sister church, St Martin in the Fields in Atlanta Georgia. They snaffled the  domain name. We don't mind. They're named after us because we were the parish church of James Oglethorpe (pictured), the founder of the colony of Georgia.
He founded Georgia as a refuge for resettlement of prisoners from debtors prisons. In effect, a large workhouse! But it was quite charitable for its time. (More on workhouses later.)
Earlier in this epic thread, I mentioned St Martin in the Veld in South Africa. Here is an old picture of that, sent to me by one of you kind folk.
There is also St Martin in the Fields in Winnetka, California, carrying the brand in mostly but not completely Godless Los Angeles. 
There's also St Martin in the Fields in Pompano Beach, Florida, named after us after having been impressed by our work in the 1950s to repair our bomb damage from the war
To be honest, maybe its just an Anglo-American verger speaking out of school, but maybe we could do a bit more to engage with our progeny churches.
Now, resuming the tour of the church itself, we left off at the Boer War memorial. If you turn around and face East, at about your 11 o'clock position, you'll find our baptismal font.
There's a mystery here. Some of the sources I have say the font is alabaster, others say marble. Hmm. Not sure I know how to tell the difference without trying a Mohs hardness test and I ain't going to scratch the font.
What I do know is that the font was donated to the Parish in 1689, making it older than existing church building. It was one of the only objects transferred into the new church. We know very little about Mr Bridgem.
Legends that Charles II was baptised in this font are untrue as the font simply isn't old enough for that.
Well, that is all today from Dan the Verger. Keep the faith. Our live-streaming and recorded events are here: @smitf_london
Stay safe. Good night and good luck.
I’m now Verger in exile from the church, on leave (not by volition) due to lockdown provisions. Our priests are continuing alone as several live on site
Mind you, priests unattended by Vergers is akin to the inmates running the nuthouse.
However, my thread will continue as I have literally weeks of content
Dan the St Martin's Verger reporting in again. Now for something completely unexpected. Our relations with Sikhs and the Punjab. I bet @smitf_london and @SallyHitchiner didn't see this one coming...
In 1915, the invasion of Gallipoli was a bit of a fiasco for British and Empire forces. In June 1915, in a particularly fierce battle, the 14th King George's Own Sikhs, an Indian Army unit, fought bravely and sustained heavy casualties.
See page 21 onwards in this magazine for an article about this battle.
Back in London, even the weary public was stunned by the sacrifice of the Sikh soldiers and their fallen British officers. Well-wishers flocked to St Martin in the Fields for a solemn commemoration of the 14th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment.
Our connection to the Punjab continued. In June 1918, @smitf_london held a memorial service for the eldest son of the last Maharajah of the Punjab, HH Prince Victor Albert Duleep Singh.
In June 2015, before I became a Verger, but as one of the military veterans in the regular congregation, I was privileged to attend a Sikh memorial service at @smitf_london to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the great and grave sacrifices at Gallipoli.
It included the "1914 Sikhs" - who wore period kit and gear.
Our Vicar, Rev Sam Wells penned these fine words. He's good at penning fine words.
I also have to say, that just down the road from us, Sikhs feed the homeless practically every evening. I will never suffer a bad word to be said, ever, about our Sikh brethren. Not on my watch.
And I leave you with part of a moving Sikh prayer I learned that day:

"O Lord, grant me the boon, that I may never deviate from doing a good deed. That I shall not fear when I go into combat."
Good night, and good luck. More tomorrow. Captain Dan signing off once more.
Checking back in here at St Martin in the (Electromagnetic) Fields. Resuming the tour of the church. As I left off, we were at the font in the NW corner of the church
Proceeding east along the north aisle, we come to the shortest railroad in London. We have, I am not kidding, a few inches of rail. From a railroad.
This is our Far East Prisoners of War memorial, which we look after.
In the display case is an actual bit of the Thai-Burma railroad (cf. Bridge over the Kwai).
One member of our congregation lost his uncle to a nameless, unknown grave building that railroad.
Every year some woman brings an orchid and leaves it at this memorial. I try to keep the orchid alive, and sometimes I manage for a few months.
On that note, Verger Dan signs off for the night from the @smitf_london verger department. Keep well and stay safe. More tomorrow. Bless you all.
PS. Sorry that I’m such shit at orchid husbandry.
Dan the Verger (in exile) reporting back for more about St. Martins. As I left off on the tour, we were in the northeast corner, looking at the Far East POW memorial. Immediately to the southeast of that is our statue of St Martin.
A lot of people don't notice this statue.
Having grown up in a different protestant tradition from Anglicanism, I never really did saints in my youth. So, I never really learned about Saint Martin when I first joined @smitf_london and became an Anglican.
I enclose for your reading pleasure our official @smitf_london leaflet on who St Martin was.
St Martin's feast day is 11th of November, which makes for an interesting mix of things here at St M's. We commemorate Remembrance Day in the morning and St Martin in the evening.
Bye for now. Stay well. Stay in touch. We've left the light on.
Picking back up where I left off on the virtual tour of St Martin in the Fields....
I left you all on the "virtual tour" at the St Martin statue in the NE corner of the church.
If you proceed south, a bit, you end up where the nave hits the sanctuary. In ecclesiastical architecture terms this is sort, of but not quite an "apse". (Feel free to correct me.)
We have a variety of benches, clergy stalls, and choir stalls so that we can configure this area in a lot of different ways to accommodate various concerts or church services. Doing a full shift of all the furniture three times on a busy Sunday will keep a verger fit!
Now look up. Marvellous, ain't it?
Up top is a coat of arms. It's that of the Royal family. King George I served as Church Warden and was a patron of the construction of the building. We are a Royal Parish Church, as part of Buckingham Palace is in our parish.
We've had plenty of Royal visits to the church over the years. Here is Queen Elizabeth on our portico in 2015. Chap on the left is my ultimate boss, Rev Sam Wells, Vicar of the place.
(Photo in previous by Press Association)
Time for my dinner. More tomorrow. Stay well.
By the way, many of you know St Martins as a concert venue. We are, in less pestilential days, one of the busier classical music venues in London. We hold a range of free and ticketed concerts.
Most of that content can't be reproduced here due to copyright and licensing reasons. (I am always enforcing the 'no recording during rehearsals' rule.)
However, this performer who played at St Martins has put one of her recitals online for us.
This photo, used with permission from Emma Halnan, actually shows my office. You can see that I get a lot of second hand music by osmosis, just based on where the Verger's Vestry is located.
Dan the (furloughed) Verger reporting back. One sadness this Palm Sunday is I will not get to work with Clover the donkey.
For many years, we had Larry the donkey for ecclesiastical duties. I am reliably informed that Larry, ex of Stepney City Farm, has gone on to the great paddock in the sky.
Donkeys are not the only animals spotted on our portico over the years.
Speaking of being furloughed, @smitf_london is doing the right thing and paying us employees during our enforced closure.
More about the treasures and wonders of St Martin in the Fields tomorrow. Stay safe.
Sorry that I didn't tweet much about @smitf_london today. Let me leave you with a photo of the Vicar acting oddly in church.
More soon. You can find all the online streaming stuff at
Dan the Verger checking back in... for the continuation of the virtual tour of St Martin in the Fields @smitf_london
I left off on the virtual tour admiring the sanctuary of the church, at the east end of the nave. Here are my benches that I move all the time.
One of our great treasures is this splendid altar.
By the way, any problems with the photos are strictly my fault. A lot of this was rushed in the general shutdown of the church.
This altar is massive. It is a solid block of Travertine marble. It sits on a plinth of dark oak. It was designed by Shirazeh Houshiary and Pip Horne, who did the window.
It dates from 2011. I still remember the lengthy dedication service we had.
Now, what I didn't know until I started working as a verger, was the artistic inspiration behind this altar. Depending on where you stand it often looks like it is floating.
The inspiration for this altar is this table.
It is the Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno (1419-1457), and it hangs in a convent just north of Florence.
Dan the St Martin in the Fields (furloughed) Verger here, reporting back in. (photo not by me, from @smitf_london website)
I left you on the virtual tour looking at the travertine marble altar. Behind the altar is the resting spot of the processional cross.
Over the last three years, I have frequently processed in front of the choir and priests into and out of various services with this cross. Indeed, I've paraded into some weddings and funerals with it, as have my colleagues.
Here is the official description of the processional cross. It replaced a much heavier silver cross that is, I must say, a real pain to polish.
To the right of the processional cross is our sanctuary lamp, which stays lit all the time, lest a poor verger weep salty tears after being berated by the clergy.
Our sanctuary lamp has a name, in fact, and a story.
It's silver. And it is called the George Heriot lamp. It is named after this chap.
George Heriot was a goldsmith and philanthropist, and was court goldsmith to Anne of Denmark.
Anne of Denmark was, in fact, the wife of King James VI / I. (The sixth king named James of Scotland, and the first of England).
Heriot, among other things, founded a school in Edinburgh.
The school is still there, and many famous people have graduated from it.
George Heriot was known in Edinburgh as "Jingling Geordie" from the sounds of the coins in his pocket. There is, in fact, a pub named for him bearing his likeness.
George Heriot died in London. His funeral was at St Martins and he was buried in our churchyard (more later on the subject of the dead at St Martins...). The famous Scottish preacher Walter Balcanquhall gave the sermon.
In memory of Heriot, alumni of the school had the lamp made and, since 2008, it has burned continuously. Except for the brief period between Good Friday and Easter morning, when the church is stripped bare and dark, by tradition.
When I say we are keeping a light on for you, I mean it in both the spiritual and practical sense. And this is the very lamp.
That's all for now. Keep safe and be good to each other. Don't make me bash you with the virtual verge.
Join us online
Church services carry on from the vicarage. Note the processional cross, which I described earlier in this thread.
Here is the processional cross in action. Carried by my former boss, ex-Head Verger Gary. Also, he's wearing my cassock in this photo.
Now, as I left you on the tour, you were looking at the sanctuary, the altar, and the Heriot lamp.
Now turn around and face West, back up the nave. Behold our fine organ.
People often ask about the organ, and occasionally think it is as old as the building. I am not a specialist in church organs, but I do know some organists, and I know a good one and a bad one when I hear them.
By the way, organists are worse than kidnappers. This is because you can usually negotiate with a kidnapper.
This fine organ dates from 1990, and was commissioned by J. W. Walker & Sons, now in Devizes. They hold the Royal Warrant for making and tuning organs for our part-time parish resident, HM Queen Elizabeth.
Walker and Sons rightly feature our organ on their website.  and they have been making and fixing organs since 1828.
By the way, a full tuning of the organ produces the most horrible noise. It is the only thing that completely clears everything and everyone (except us vergers who still have to work) out of the church.
As stated, I am no organ boffin, so I have to reach into the reference book for technical info on the organ itself. It has 5000 pipes, ranging from a very shrill 1 inch pipe to a veritable Contra Bombarde of 32 feet.
One of the pipes produces the same tone as the initial alert beeps from the fire alarm system. This is an annoyance to those of us who invoke St Florian and try to keep the building from burning.
For those of you who want the actual technical details of the organ, there is the National Pipe Organ Registry. Of course there is. Their page here has the details
They also have the details of the previous organ. Because organ boffins are going to boffinise.
We also have a chamber organ, a much smaller portable organ. When I say "portable" it means "vergers will move it". Photo from Jennings Organs. Personal, I hate the chamber organ and refer to it as "Satan's Engine"
I have, on more than one occasion, found a dead mouse in the chamber organ.
There was an incident, circa 2009, when a pigeon got stuck in the main organ during the final voluntary.
We have had many organists and directors of music over the centuries. The records I have at my disposal go back to one Mr Watts in 1525.
In 1674, Christopher Gibbons was our organists. He was second son of the famous Orlando Gibbons. He was mentioned in Samuel Pepys diaries. He taught Henry Purcell
He was succeeded by Bernard Smith, who was one of the great organ builders of the age and made the organ for the post-fire St Pauls Cathedral and made the organ at Durham Cathedral.
Bernard Smith was famous for the 1684 Battle of the Organs, which is a tale in its own right. The Temple Church, east of St Martins, needed a new organ. The Temple Church (a fine church and a must visit site in its own right) held a competion.
Smith and his rival organ maker, Renatus Harris, both made and installed organs in the Temple Church (pictured, photo by John Salmon). They held a competition.
Smith clinched the deal. Partly because he got the famous composer and musician Henry Purcell to play for the trials. This is like getting Marry Berry to bake your cupcakes for the office bake-off.
By the way, at least one of Purcell's grandchildren was baptised at St Martin in the Fields.
I have no idea if Purcell ever played as a guest at @smitf_london - but some other guy named Handel did.
Another of our organists was John Weldon. He had been taught by Henry Purcell. He had also been organist and composer to the Chapel Royal.
In 1736, Joseph Kelway (pic) was appointed organist. He was both a great organist and harpsichordist. He was described as playing with "masterly wildness". He was so famous that George Handel came repeated to @smitf_london to hear him play.
In 1782, Benjamin Cooke was appointed organist. He's buried in the Cloister at Westminster Abbey. He had been Deputy Organist at WM Abbey at the stunning age of 12.
He was succeeded in the post by his son, Robert Cooke. He was also master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey. He drowned himself in 1814 by throwing himself into the Thames after an unhappy love affair.
Robert Cooke was succeeded by Thomas Walmisley. He had a dispute with the management at @smitf_london for over 30 years over the issue of his salary.
We briefly had William Best, one of the great organists of his age, for a few months.
WH Adams (1820-1914) was organist for a stunning tenure of 42 years from 1857-1899. He was a founding member of the Royal College of Organists
From 1920-1924, our organist at @smitf_london was none other than the famous composer Martin Shaw OBE FRCM
Now, hold onto your hats... Here's a connection to Star Wars. I bet you didn't see that coming.
Martin Shaw's nephew was none other than Sebastian Shaw the actor (also Flt Lt, RAFVR) - who played the brief role of unmasked, dying, Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.
Bet you didn't see that one coming.
Martin Shaw was succeeded as organist by Arnold Goldsborough. He went on to found the group that later became the English Chamber Orchestra.
During the Second World War, our organist was S. Drummond Wolff - he later went on to conduct The Canadian Military Headquarters Choir and moved to Canada.
So, as you can see, we've had a great history in music. In fact, more about music later in this thread.
Enough for now. Happy Easter. We'll get through this all.

Captain Dan, the Verger, signing off.
Well, Dan the Verger back with more of the Treasures of St Martin in the Fields @smitf_london
As I left, we were discussing the organ and organists. But also, in this view you see our splendid wooden pulpit. (Right hand side of photo)
Our hand-carved wood pulpit is likely original to Gibbs' original 1720s design for the church. It was originally taller but got lopped off in the late 1800s. `
Church records tell us that the Georgian-era wood pulpit was carved by one Thomas Bridgewater. A joiner, Charles Griffith, billed the church £80 (a lot in those days) for the project. Note the cloth "falls" - us vergers change them according to the liturgical colours of the day.
We use the Church of England Lectionary to tell us the colour of the day...
The pulpit actually has moved around a bit over the years. In our 2006-2008 renovation, it was moved back to its original 1725 position.
Many people remark about our lack of stained glass. Or they comment on the lovely natural light. Or both. In fact, some people have complained to me about the lack of stained glass, as if it were a requirement. Well, there are some stories to be had here... (pause for tea)
I leave you with an image from 1810. Back when the pulpit had a roof over it.
Turns out I am cooking tonight. So more on this subject tomorrow. Stay safe. Captain Dan signing off for the day.
Captain Dan the Verger signing back on her to continue this epic thread on the treasures and history of St Martin in the Fields, parish church of the great and the weird.
When I left off, I was talking about our pulpit. I pointed out that it was not always where it is now. In fact, for a long time it was in the front of the nave, and not in the middle of it. This sketch from World War 1 illustrates this.
That picture is, allegedly, from this book. Pat was Vicar at St Martins. I will talk more about him later on.
Another of our treasures is tucked away in the southwest corner of the church. One of our older items.
This treasure chest, made of elm wood, appears in the Churchwardens inventory from 1597. It now does duty as a donation box.
One of the greatest treasures of @smitf_london generally only makes a public appearance on Sundays. It is our Heritage edition copy of the St John Bible.
On Sundays, us vergers put the Gospel volume of the St John Bible on its pedestal opened to the correct page for that Sunday's gospel reading - photo from @smitf_london website.
You can read more about the amazing St John Bible here: 
In better times, you can visit us and look down in our gallery in our crypt to see some prints from this fine illuminated bible.
At one point we had several volumes on display in glass cases, and I would change the pages to show off some of the finer points and various whimsies in it. But that came to an end in 2019.
Hopefully, we can get the St John Bible back on display in one form or another in the future.
More later. Dan the Verger signing off for now.
OK. Dan the Verger at St Martin in the Fields reporting back in from my furlough.
Polling says you want a tour of the underground facilities at St Martin's.
Well, directly underneath the 1726 church building, we have our Crypt. It is now a cafe and gallery. Here's a sad picture. The cafe empty, getting cleaned up before long term lockdown.
In better days than these, the cafe is open for lunch and dinner, and coffees and such. It is a valuable stream of income for our church and our charitable arms. Which will be mentioned later in the thread. Pics from @smitf_london website.
I know most of the staff in the cafe. They keep us vergers supplied with that essential verger fuel... coffee. You should also know that @smitf_london pays cafe staff London Living Wage, which is more than the national minimum wage.
Again, in better times than these, there is live jazz on most Wednesday nights in the Crypt. Trust me, the performers are not this blurry in reality. (Photo via @smitf_london )
There's no way around this... the crypt used to be full of dead people. Rest assured, the dead people are gone. At some point in this thread, I will address the long and interesting story of dead bodies and burials and such.
Here is a photograph of my brother, Dr Richard Kaszeta @kaszeta in the Crypt at St Martins. Unusually well dressed, as he's normally a scruffy engineer.
He was well turned-out that day because I happened to be getting married at @smitf_london and he was my best man.
Since I'm here, here's a fine photo of my wedding in July 2008 at this lovely church. Note Ralph the Verger in action in front of the two priests.
Not to name drop, but the priest on the right is the one who married us. He's Nick Holtam and he's now the Bishop of Salisbury and he bought me a drink last year.
But, back to the crypt. Funny story. I accidentally left my speech in the taxi cab. I had to sit in the crypt on the day of my wedding to re-write it. Ralph Smith, the late Head Verger and Capo di capi of Vergers, gave me some paper.
Now, back to the Crypt. I present to you the Creepy Object of the Crypt. Totally and completely unrelated to my wedding photos. I present to you the Parish whipping post, from 1752.
On that note, I need to go to the kitchen and perform some culinary tasks.
More this weekend. Stay safe and stay well. Keep your powder dry. Captain Dan signing off now.
Welcome back to the tour and history lesson. We resume our tour in our underground spaces. For this next bit to make sense, I need to give a bit of a geography lesson. The tour resumes in the crypt.
There are vaults off of the Crypt itself, although many of them are re-purposed now, and some of them don't exist. Once full of coffins and dead people, we now have one of them set aside for grave markers that had been in our churchyard
Here's the marker for Henry Croft, the First Pearly King. We still have a Pearly Kings and Queens service in October every year.
However, the various schisms and rifts in the Pearlies are complex and beyond my grasp, so it is an exaggeration to say we are THE church of the Pearlies.
There is a space at the west end of the Crypt that we call the gallery. Various art exhibits happen here. This is also where I met Joanna Lumley.
This link details a lot of the grave markers.
The bones of John Hunter, the famous surgeon turned up in our crypt. There's now a marker to them. Photo from the British Journal of Surgery
Now, here's the thing. Not everything below ground at St Martin's is "The Crypt". There's a lot of extra stuff that got dug out during our massive renovations in 2006-2008. Now for some geography of the site.
If you look at the church above ground, there is a space between the church building and our "north range" - the three buildings that belong to the church to our north.
This buildings on the left in that photo are, from left to right (West to East), No 6 St Martins Lane (the vicarage), No 5 (the church offices), and 12 Adelaide street (formerly the school, now the Connection @homelesslondon our charity).
This space (viewed here from the East) is called St Martin in the Fields Church Path, one of the longer street names in Westminster.
The glass pavilion on Church Path is one of the entrances (and the primary public entrance) to the underground spaces at @smitf_london
Immediately to the east of the church itself is our courtyard, what is left of the old churchyard, which seasonally has a cafe.
All the stuff below the church path and below the courtyard was excavated / dug out during our major renovations in 2006-2008, creating much more space.
The renovation of St Martin's @smitf_london cost an awful lot of money, and we had many donors.
Here's Nick Holtam, the vicar at the time, with the sarcophagus. He's now the Bishop of Salisbury. Nick, not the dead Roman dude. (Photo by Alastair Grant, AP)
This dates the Christian presence on the site to early 5th century. There's no record of a church that early, though.
Our new spaces (opened in 2008) underground gave us much more area for activities and rooms. This tour will continue later. I need coffee. Signing off for now
Continuing the tour... The excavated "new" spaces underground include things like our shop, run by a lovely gal named Sarah.
Alas, our shop is closed now due to COVID-19, but do come by when you can. You can even find a book on the history of St Martin's there. As well as the collected works of Rev Dr Canon Sam Wells, our vicar. I did shed a tear when they closed up and furloughed the shop team.
The shop also administers our Brass Rubbing Centre. You can make fine images of various brasses.
Take home a mock medieval treat for your nearest and dearest.
Anyway, continuing our tour of the subterranean features at St Martin's, we have a changing art exhibit featuring art by members of our congregation. Here it is, as of lockdown day.
Last year, I was the featured artist, with my wildlife photos from a 2010 trip to Malawi.
You can follow @DanKaszeta.
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