Yesterday I went to visit the parish church of St. Michaels which is where Horrocks went to fulfill his spiritual duties. His observations of the transit were interrupted 3 times so that he could attend to what he reffered to as matters of greater importance. The church is just round the corner from Carr House where it is believed he observed the transit.

I was very fortunate to get into the church as I’d not booked ahead. Luckily there was a confirmation class just finishing as I arrived and I met Eric Barker the Church warden outside and he kindly showed me round and introduced me to The Vicar.

Its a beautfiul place, very small and therefore really warm and intimate, a lot cosier than any church I’ve ever been in. The stained glass which was the main reason for my visit was perfectly lit by one of the sunniest days of the year so far.

The warden and the Vicar allowed me to wander round and take as many photos as I wanted and every now and again dropped in a few facts about the building including where Horrocks would of sat.

There are various tributes to Horrocks and the transit in the church that have built up over the years. Above the altar the stained glass window contains a panel of Horrocks observing the transit and just to the left of the pulpit another two panes including one which commemorates the transit of 2004. that year saw a lot of activity in Much Hoole with scientists coming from all over the world to observe it and celebrate Horrocks achievment. This year, although there will be a lot of attention given to Much Hoole most Astronomers will be going to Tahiti, where Captain Cook obserevd the transit or Hawaii. The Pacific region has the best chance for viewing the last transit of our lifetime.

As well as the stained glass there is a carved inscription hung on one of the walls. Outside on the bell tower is another carved inscription and a sundial.

Eric told me that they are collecting money for a flag and a windvane so that there is an outward symbol that signifies the importance of Horrocks observations.

There have been a few booklets produced about the church, Carr House and Horrocks and after a good nosy round the vicar gave me some to take home.

I’m hoping to visit Carr House (privately owned) soon as Eric can provide an introduction to the current owners.

It was really good to get a sense of place as most of the research I’ve been conducting has been through books and the internet.

I have some idea of what I think I want to make for this project (More of that in the next post), but I’m intending to spend a few more months gathering information, thinking things over and playing around with ideas.


I’m thrilled to be one of five artists commisioned by In Certain Places to make a piece of work that will be shown during Preston Guild 2012. I met all the other artists in December 2011 where we had a chance to talk about our work and any ideas we had for this project. We are all at different stages of development and there are a wide range of ideas and approaches, it should be a really fascinating and inspiring journey.

I’m going to be making work based upon research into the Transit of Venus (when we can observe the planet Venus moving across the face of the sun) which occurs June 5th/6th 2012. Currently the transits occur twice in every approximately 113 years, with the two transits separated by 8 years. The most recent being 2004

It is of specific significance to Preston as the first recorded observation happened in Much Hoole (just outside Preston) by Jeremiah Horrocks in 1639. The Astrophysics department at the University of Central Lancashire is named after him (The Jeremiah Horrocks institute) and until recently they used an observatory on Preston’s Moor park.

The Transit of Venus was used to calculate the Astronomical unit, which is the distance from the earth to the sun – all other distances in the Universe depend upon it. In the 18th Century this was seen as the last great problem in astronomy and was deemed so important that countries who were technically at war collaborated in this international scientific experiment. Captain Cook was sent on his first voyage to the Pacific by the Royal Society to observe the Transit from the island of Tahiti. Other astronomers travelled to Africa and throughout Europe to time the exact instant of transit.

I’ll be using this blog to document my research and progress of the project.

For further information about In Certain Places, the Guild, and our fellow artists follow the links below…

http://incertainplaces.org/home (Twitter: @incertainplaces)

www.a-n.co.uk/p/1839388 Hannah Elizabeth Allan and Jeni McConnell

www.a-n.co.uk/p/1839493/ Lisa Wigham

www.a-n.co.uk/p/1838157 Ian Broadley