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Bell book and candle

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Essex man (and girl, if there's any truth in those jokes) has long been in need of spiritual sustenance. So the former chief architect for Basildon New Town, Douglas Galloway, and local vicar and occasional chaplain to the Queen, Canon Webber, have led a ten-year campaign for an eight-belled campanile. Thanks to £350,000 from the Millennium Commission, it has been successful and was recently opened by hm and the Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to the town to mark its 50th anniversary. This is no ordinary campanile, such as you might find in Venice for example, because it's almost entirely glass, but shaped to give it a gothic form. Apparently the master of Gothic-in-modern-materials, Sir Michael Hopkins, wouldn't touch it with a bargepole when asked to help out with the details. It would have made a nice poser for Ruskin, who once wrote that the outward test of a truly Gothic building may have been the pointed arch, but its real measure was the heart and mind of the workman.

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