One very old church + a London nursery rhyme about bells, fruit and debt collecting + some yarn + a handful of beady eyes + a hoard of crafty treasure bits + my brains = The Flying Fruits of Justice.
Knit the City took on the Oranges and Lemons Odyssey with a six-pronged attack. Six London Churches from an old nursery rhyme. Six graffiti knitters. One full day of yarnstorming fun.
For the Deadly Knitshade prong of it I was handed the holy stones of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate for the line:
“When will you pay me?” said the Bells of Old Bailey”
A soaring four-pointed church on the corner of Holborn Viaduct and Giltspur Street, St Sepulchre has been strutting its sacred stuff since 1450. It suffered a bit of scorching in the Great Fire of 1666 but has generally stood up to a whole lot of London history ever since.
It used to stand opposite the City’s nefarious Newgate Prison. From 1606 every night before an execution the bellman of the church would trudge through a dark tunnel between the prison and the church. At the prison he would ring on his handbell 12 times and recite:
“All you that in the condemned hold do lie,
Prepare you, for tomorrow you shall die;
Watch all and pray, the hour is drawing near
That you before the Almighty must appear;
Examine well yourselves, in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent:
And when St. Sepulchre’s bell tomorrow tolls,
The Lord above have mercy on your souls.
Past twelve o’clock!”
A journey of fruity justice was in order…
Throw them all together and I formed an unlikely crew. The Flying Fruits of Justice we ready to take to the air. Stand back.
The citrus criminals and their chasers took the air in the shadow of St Sepulchre. They bobbed quietly in the London wind and reminded passing Londoners of a little bit of history.
Another fine knitblast in honour of my lovely London. I disappeared back into my stitching shadows imagining the ghosts of condemned Newgate prisoners gazing out of the windows of a phantom prison upon a church bedecked with dancing fancy-dress fruit. They probably would have killed for a bit of citrus fruit right then. Which is possibly what got them in there in the first place…