Surrey, UK - At last, after 22 years trading from the same premises, Antique Church Furnishings [formerly Chancellors] is moving, having to relocate to new premises in Betchworth near Dorking, location for much of Four Weddings and a Funeral and home of more privately owned swimming pools outside Florida and 'Cheap Champagne Thursday' at local pub, The Arkle Manor. See you there at The Barn at Fryleigh Farm, Snowerhill Road, Surrey, RH3 7AF come January 2017 …
So far, so charming. The only snag is that our lovely chi chi new premises are only about one third the size of what we have at present. This means a lot of stuff has to go. Not go with an unfeasible reserve, I mean, just go.
The business started back in 1985 when myself and Steve were walking in Fulham close to Steve's then girlfriend's house. We noticed a team of builders essentially trashing a church on one of the main roads. Burning stuff, skipping stuff. On impulse we went over and after a short discussion bought everything that was left for £10. We borrowed a friends old Transit loaded up and sold what we got over the course of the next two days. As I remember there was a lot of Boys Brigade material and WW1 nursing kit - think old wheelchairs, stretchers, drums, flags. This we sold mostly to film prop companies. And so a career was born. The 1980's was a good time to learn about salvage as one could pick it up for essentially nothing. People were still putting good Victorian fireplaces and doors in skips while another set of people were putting them back in their period homes. The Church in England was quite happy to sell pews and chairs to us for whatever as the alternative was to simply throw them away.
This was the happy time. Pre-kids, pre-responsibility, pre-competition. By the time these things raised their ugly heads (no offence, kids) at least we had the first of a series of premises and a pretty well established niche business. Now we sell to churches, pubs, restaurants, private folks, religious private folks and films and theatre. What we have in the warehouse now is an amalgam of 30 years of trading - the unusual, the mundane, the utilitarian and the special.
Whether it is a 1960s pew in the shape of the South Bank Centre or a life size grieving Madonna everything here has got its own backstory of faith. These things have either been prayed on or prayed to. Whatever your own beliefs, we think that a lot of these items have got a certain essence that you simply do not get with flat-pack furniture from Ikea. A Holy Feng Shui, if you like.
So don't be a stranger, come to our (hopefully) never to be repeated Grand Relocation Sale on September 16th and 17th. In the flesh and online.
And the Lots include:
A collection of stone crosses that we picked up from a graveyard in Birmingham with less than two days notice - the council there had decided suddenly that crosses were a health and safety risk.
A 12 metre plus run of room high Victorian oak paneling from the crypt of Rochester Cathedral.
A fantastic ornate Gothic Pulpit from Holy Trinity Cambridge - one of the most important churches in that town.
A Life size terracotta statue of Our Lady of the Assumption, previously in the entranceway of a Convent near Leicester, rescued from a back garden where she had lain for over fifty years.
A massive reliquary / relic box for storing large and valuable sacred items in the shape and style of an ornate church tower.
A spectacular pair of dark oak panels festooned with instrument playing angles, vines and plants. Previously in a vicarage living room next to the Church of Mill Hill Village, North London.
A selection of 1900 pews with lift up seats from what was the Fieldgate Synagogue - one of the last great traditional East End of London synagogues. When we lifted the seats we found old prayer shawls, yarmulkes, copies of the Torah and personal effects dating back over a hundred years.
Huge and impressive Gothic oak choir pews and choir paneling from Kings Lynn Minster.
Ancient Priests garments / chasubles from the 1700s - selling on behalf of a client who went on to become a monk in the USA.
A nearly life size crucifix and ornate paneling rescued from The Home of Compassion Convent, Thames Ditton, just before it was gutted.
Curios like the Victorian family of six stuffed red squirrels, faded to an elegant grey.
And definitely not least of all the pair epically proportioned statues 'Tommy' and 'Billy' missionary tribal souvenirs from long ago.
Antique Church Furnishings
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