Nestled in the quite English countryside in the county of Herefordshire, near the market town of Ross-on-Wye, lies All Saint’s Church, the parish church of the village of Brockhampton. Meanwhile, on the other side of world, on the 21st and 22nd floor of a tower block in Osaka, Japan, can be seen its replica. Why? The answer lies in the popularity in Japan of western-style wedding venues.
Brockhampton church is Grade I listed and is the work of architect William Lethaby. It is a fine example of the design and work of the Arts and Crafts movement. It is built of dressed sandstone, with a thatched roof, bell tower and weatherboard cladding. Inside there are pointed arches which are almost triangular, stained glass, fine metalwork, and tapestries by Burne Jones made in the workshops of William Morris.
Four Japanese property developers were conducting research in England when they paid a visit to the church. They so fell in love with it that they decided that it would be ideal for the project they had ongoing in Japan. Western-style venues for weddings are very popular in Japan, and many Japanese couples, and not necessarily of the Christian religion, travel thousands of miles to fulfill this wish. These property developers aimed to bring a western-style church to Japan.
After taking exact measurements using laser technology and hundreds of photographs, they returned to Japan. On the top two floors of the tower block they built an exact copy of the church, three-quarter in size. The tower block’s large glass atrium provides the natural daylight flooding over the church and guarantees that the weather will never mar the couple’s wedding day festivities. Also in the complex is a banqueting suite, hotel rooms including honeymoon suites, a photographic studio and everything else needed for a wedding. The ceremony conducted is a civil ceremony.
Photographs of the Japanese church can be found on the Brockhampton church website.
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