Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Corpus Christi carpet, Notting Hill

Posted on by royvickery |

NHALS 054Although the floral carpet prepared for the feast of Corpus Christi at Arundel Cathedral is the best known such carpet in the British Isles, a number of Anglo-Catholic churches also prepare carpets.  One of these is St Bartholomew’s in Brighton, which has been mentioned elsewhere on this website; another is All Saints Church, Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, where the Corpus Christi NHALS 048procession takes place on the Sunday following the feast day.  Consequently the carpet is prepared on the Saturday.

It is believed that the production of Corpus Christi carpets at All Saints began just before, or just after, the Second World War.

All Saints was visited at about 3 o’clock on the afternoon of Saturday 28 May 2016, when people were busy laying the carpet.  The outline of the design had already been chalked on the floor and people, both male and female, were busily putting flower petals and foliage in place, each person totally immersed in their NHALS 028own part of the design.  Petals, rather than complete flowers, were used, most of the petals coming from the flowers of stock (Matthiola incana).  Most of the foliage was of either spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica) or box (Buxus sempervirens), the latter being gathered from the Church’s garden.

A second church which prepares a carpet for its Corpus Christi procession held on the Sunday after the feast day is St Mary’s Bourne Street, Belgravia, in the City of Westminster.  St Mary’s carpet differs from most in that it is composed not of flowers, but of foliage and herbs, to create a ‘sensory extravaganza’.

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