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Photographer's Note

This shot is taken from part of the wall on the West Front of Salisbury Cathedral

Statue of the right is Thomas Ken (July 1637 – 19 March 1711) was an English cleric who was considered the most eminent of the English non-juring bishops, and one of the fathers of modern English hymnody.

Thomas Ken, (born July 1637, Berkhampsted, Hertfordshire, England—died March 19, 1711, near Warminster, Wiltshire), Anglican bishop, hymn writer, royal chaplain to Charles II of England, and one of seven bishops who in 1688 opposed James II’s Declaration of Indulgence, which was designed to promote Roman Catholicism.

Ordained about 1661, Ken held several ecclesiastical positions until 1669, when he became a prebendary of Winchester Cathedral. In 1679 Ken was appointed chaplain to Princess Mary of York, wife of Prince William of Orange and daughter of James, duke of York, who later became King James II. The following year Ken became royal chaplain to Charles II and soon after made his refusal to vacate his house in Winchester to the actress Nell Gwyn, Charles II’s mistress. In 1685 he became bishop of Bath and Wells and the same year attended Charles on his deathbed.

In 1688 James reissued his Declaration of Indulgence for the second consecutive year. Though it seemed to promise toleration for Protestant dissenters, it was actually intended to win them to Roman Catholicism. Ken and six other bishops not only refused to publish it in their dioceses but published instead a petition against the order. Imprisoned in the Tower of London and tried for sedition, the bishops were subsequently acquitted. Despite this dispute, Ken remained loyal to James during the Glorious Revolution (1688–89), when William of Orange sailed from the Netherlands to England with an army to aid the Protestants. James fled the country, and William and Mary were crowned monarchs in 1689. For his refusal to swear allegiance to the new regime, Ken was deprived of his office in 1691 and spent the remaining 20 years of his life in retirement. His familiar hymns, “"Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun"” and “"Glory to Thee, My God, This Night,"” were added to the seventh edition of his Manual of Prayers (1674) in 1700.

Although Ken wrote much poetry, besides his hymns, he cannot be called a great poet; but he had that fine combination of spiritual insight and feeling with poetic taste which marks all great hymnwriters. As a hymnwriter he has had few equals in England; he wrote Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

It can scarcely be said that even John Keble, though possessed of much rarer poetic gifts, surpassed him in his own sphere. In his own day he took high rank as a pulpit orator, and even royalty had to beg for a seat amongst his audiences; but his sermons are now forgotten. He lives in history, apart from his three hymns, mainly as a man of unstained purity and invincible fidelity to conscience, weak only in a certain narrowness of view. As an ecclesiastic he was a High Churchman of the old school.


Ken's poetical works were published in collected form in four volumes by W. Hawkins, his relative and executor, in 1721; his prose works were issued in 1838 in one volume, under the editorship of J. T. Round. A brief memoir was prefixed by Hawkins to a selection from Ken's works which he published in 1713; and a life, in two volumes, by the Rev. W. L. Bowles, appeared in 1830. But the standard biographies of Ken are those of J. Lavicount Anderdon (The Life of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, by a Layman, 1851; 2nd ed., 1854) and of Dean Plumptre (2 vols., 1888; revised, 1890). See also the Rev. W. Hunt's article in the Dictionary of National Biography.

He was buried at the Church of St John the Baptist, Frome, where his crypt can still be seen. He is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 8 June. He is also commemorated with a statue in niche 177 on the West Front of Salisbury Cathedral.

The two granite heads on the left are known as Gargoyles
A Gargoyle is a grotesque statue that is attached to a building. It is carved out of stone, usually granite. It is used to get water away from the building when it rains. Gargoyles are often made to look like animals or people. The collected water comes out of their mouths. Most gargoyles were made a long time ago. People used to believe that they scared away evil spirits.

Cheers,
Ralf

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Additional Photos by Ralf Lai (kim_gwan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 99 W: 0 N: 368] (1142)
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