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Mass of the Holy Name of Jesus at St Teilo’s Church (September 2011)

From the late medieval wall paintings and inscriptions found in St Teilo’s Church before it was dismantled, moved and re-erected in St Fagans National History Museum, we know that the altar in the south aisle of the church was a Jesus Altar. This is where the Friday Jesus Mass would have been celebrated.

In this enactment, we engaged with historical imagination, using evidence from other places (there is no record of liturgical practice at St Teilo’s). In his will, the late Lord of the Manor (the fictional Sir Thomas ap Rhys) has directed that he be buried before the Jesus Altar, and has provided funds to endow a priest to celebrate Jesus Mass on Friday, and a master of choristers to train a small group of boys to sing at the Mass with the organ.

Sir Thomas’s son, widow and steward attend the Mass. They assemble close to the brass of St Thomas before the altar, and other lay people present gather on the other side. (Contemporary images show the laity in close proximity to the altar.) Because the boys are engaged in singing at the far end of aisle, the parish clerk assists at the altar, and the parish sexton rings the bell and brings in the elevation torch. For practical reasons, in this enactment the boys’ part is taken by women who sing from a single copy on the lectern. The master of the choristers places his music on the other side of the lectern to play the organ.

Video recordings and full texts

The Mass of the Holy Name at St Teilo’s Church (full video recording)

Introductory video of this Jesus Mass with commentary

Texts used by the participants

You can view, download, print and follow the main ‘performance’ texts used by the participants for this enactment:

Service booklet for priest and clerk
Service booklet for singers

The full sequence of text resources used in the enactment can be found here.

A tabular summary of what happens when and where in the Mass can be found here, and a diagrammatic plan identifying the space used in St Teilo’s Church can be found here.