The Shrine of St Augustine is England’s newest shrine recalling England’s first missionary. Pugin’s magnificent personal church and burial place, dedicated to his patron St Augustine, became, on 1st March 2012, the official shrine commemorating the coming of the Gospel to the Anglo-Saxon peoples.
The Westgate-on-Sea group welcomed 14 visitors to the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate on Wednesday 9th July. Gordon and Rosemary Traynor had hoped that many more would have turned up, as they had organised a day that was both spiritual and full of historical and artistic interest.
Not only did we have an in depth tour of The Church of St Augustine designed by Augustus Pugin, but we were also able to look round The Grange, next door. The Grange was the family home of Augustus Pugin, his wife and eight children. He built the house and church at his own expense, working on them whenever funds allowed. His first wife died in childbirth, His second wife gave him five children, but she died in 1844. She was buried at St. Chad’s, Birmingham; a church that he had himself had designed. His third wife bore three more children and outlived him by many years.
Pugin was a convert to Catholicism and became an extremely devout Catholic. Many felt his family motto ‘En Avent’ meaning ‘Forward’, was rather odd considering how he argued for the revival of the medieval Gothic style, and also “a return to the faith and the social structures of the Middle Ages”. But he was keen to revitalise the faith and felt that his architecture would uplift and touch the soul of all who entered his beautiful buildings.