Scandalous Behavior, Ghost Stories, and Cancelled Celebrations: A History of Christmas Churches

TLDR Christmas churches have a long history of scandalous behavior by composers and directors of music, as well as charitable giving. MR James, known for his ghost stories, was inspired by churches and shared his stories after Christmas Eve services. Christmas celebrations were cancelled in Scotland for 400 years, but eventually became a public holiday. Additionally, various churches are connected to Christmas movies and have unique historical features such as ancient wall paintings and the origin of tinsel.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 You can purchase a membership to the Rest is History Club as a Christmas gift for your loved one, which includes benefits like ad-free listening, bonus episodes, live episodes, parties, and personalized messages.
05:09 Christmas churches have a long history of scandalous behavior by their composers and directors of music, such as cutting off pig tails, driving naked on a motorbike, and even urinating on the Dean during services.
10:02 Churches have a long history of charitable giving during Christmas, including providing plum puddings and coats for the poor, as well as collecting coins in poor boxes to distribute to the needy on Boxing Day.
15:03 MR James, a dean and provost of King's College, Cambridge, is best known for his ghost stories that he would share with a select group of students and colleagues after Christmas Eve services, which often revolve around antiquarians uncovering supernatural forces in churches and buildings.
19:43 MR James, known for his ghost stories, cataloged glass fragments at Ash Ridge House and was directly inspired by them, and his last story before he died was thought to be the most autobiographical.
24:44 Rachel Morley discusses various Christmas movies and their connections to specific churches, including the Highland Lake Community Church in Denver, Colorado, and St. James' Burton Lazarus in Leicestershire, which is associated with the film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."
29:47 In the film "A Christmas Carol" filmed in Shrewsbury, there is a churchyard with a slab of limestone inscribed with the words "Ebenezer Scrooge" that has remained there for nearly 40 years.
34:52 In Scotland, Christmas was cancelled for about 400 years after a decree made in 1583 by the Glasgow Kirk, which rejected the celebration of Christmas and ordered the excommunication of those who celebrated it.
39:57 In Scotland, the celebration of Christmas was illegal and frowned upon by the church until 1958, when it became a public holiday, while in 17th century England, Christmas was also cancelled and treated as a serious offense.
45:19 The Green Chapel from the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is believed to be located either at Lodz Church, a deep chasm in Staffordshire, or Nan Tor Cave at Wetten Mill, both in the Northwest Midlands.
50:26 The St. Bothels church in West Sussex has some of the earliest wall paintings in the UK, dating back to the 11th century, including scenes from the Holy Infancy such as the flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocence.
55:49 The walls of St. Bothels church were originally golden and red, but the halos were painted with a bright green paint made from copper, honey, salt, and urine.
01:00:38 Tinsel was invented in Nuremberg in 1610 and was originally made of real silver, then lead, and now a PVC material, but it is not eco-friendly; however, the UK's largest tinsel production factory is located in Coombron, Monmouthshire.
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