Saturday 31st July, 2010
St Mary's Church,
The annual Requiem for the founders of the church & museum.
Some info from the parish website...
If John Bowes' birth had been legitimate, then he would have become the Earl of Strathmore and our history would probably have been different. As it was, he inherited lands and money from the old Earl, his father, and after a classic education for a gentleman of his time he developed an interest in the theatre, was a successful owner of race horses (his horse Western Australian won the Derby in 1853), was a popular MP for several years, and together with his French wife Josephine became a great collector of French paintings and other artifacts which he intended to house in a great museum to be built at Barnard Castle. John was not a Catholic, but his wife was. He was devoted to his wife, who was much younger than him, and when she died in 1874 he decided to fulfill her desire to have a chapel next to the museum on which work had already started. The chapel reached the height of the eves when John became short of money to complete the museum. Work was stopped, and the chapel stood for almost fifty years as a folly. John died in 1885, but his will was not probated until 1905. Then began years of discussion between the trustees of the museum and the trustees of the chapel as to its siting and use. Eventually in 1926 agreement was reached for the chapel to be moved to a corner of the museum site, and the building was finished and opened in 1928. The bodies of John and Josephine Bowes were brought from their temporary resting-place at the vault at Gibside Hall, Dunston, and they rest now behind the apse of St Mary's Church with their tomb directly facing the front door of their Museum. A Requiem Mass for Founders' Day is celebrated each year in July.