English Heritage has restored the interior of Dover Castle to what they consider it looked like in the time of Henry 11, here is the article from the Independant.
I know nothing about throne rooms but the chapel seems more like a set from Cadfael or Disney than what I would expect to see in a 12th Century Chapel.
The set up of altar and lectern certainly lacks authenticity.
- Where are the wall paintings?
- Where are the sumptuous hangings?
- Where is the pyx?
- Where is the ciborium over the altar?
- Where is the predella?
- Where are the lamps?
- Where is rich embroidered or painted frontal?
- Where is the great rood above the altar?
- Where is the image of the Holy Virgin?
- Where are the relics?
- Where are the images of the Royal Patron Saints?
- Where are the decorated Missals and Gospel Books?
This is so lacklustre isn't it? An altar covered with a sheet arranged as a 16th century Laudian fall, is frankly a ridiculous anachronism. It makes one question the whole authenticity of the project, it also causes me a little anxiety about whether English Heritage grasps the significance of faith within the 12th century, I get the impression "they don't do religion".
There may be little documentation about throne rooms or castle kitchens of this period but there are no lack of sources and scholarship about chapels of this period, why has English Heritage not used it?
I often wonder if English Heritage are a gang of cowboys at times, it calls into question their seriousness and academic quality and whether they should be involved in bodies such august as the Historic Churches Committee. Possibly they have sold their souls to the "tourist industry".
The chapel would have been one of the central rooms in any castle, a place where both wealth and piety would be displayed, but not at Dover.
Looking at the other photographs in this series religion seems to figure pretty low on English Heritages ideas of historic reconstruction. On Radio 4's Today Programme the chapel featured, apparently the have piped chant, I hope they got the music for the right period, easy to do right but I bet they didn't.